Precise numbers of people who are injured or die in accidents caused by drowsy driving are hard to nail down but the NHTSA estimates that almost 50,000 people are injured and 800 people die in fatal accidents related to drowsy driving every year. Traffic safety experts, medical sleep specialists and public health experts all agree that the impact of drowsy driving is underestimated and an issue that needs attention. It’s important to avoid the dangers of drowsy driving.
What time do most drowsy driving crashes occur?
Drowsy-driving crashes most often occur during the natural times our bodies slow down -- specifically, between the hours of midnight and 6 am, and in the late afternoon. If you are driving during those times make sure to follow driving tips to stay awake and alert or avoid driving at all during those times.
Who is most at-risk for sleep-deprived driving?
- People who work long shifts or work more than 60 hours a week, workers on overnight shifts and commercial drivers are all at-risk for drowsy driving.
- Anyone with a sleep disorder (or not) who may not be getting enough sleep on a daily basis.
- Older drivers are especially susceptible to drowsy driving in the late afternoon
- Teenagers -- because of their increased need for sleep and often lack of adequate sleep during these years -- also have an increased risk for drowsy driving related accidents.
What are some ways to avoid falling asleep at the wheel?
According to sleep experts, one of the best ways to prevent drowsy driving is to get a full night of sleep the day before driving, especially if you plan a long trip. You should also plan to avoid driving alone, if possible, and plan to take breaks and stop to sleep for the night. Caffeine can offer a short-term boost -- especially if you take a short nap after consuming it -- but the effects can be short-lived.
Is drowsy driving worse than drunk driving?
Studies have shown that driving on 4-5 hours of sleep the night before can make a driver just an impaired as one with a .08 blood alcohol level. A study completed by AAA found that drowsy drivers on 4-5 hours per sleep were more than 4x likely to be involved in a car accident. Even drivers with 5-6 hours of sleep are twice as likely to be in a crash.
Is drowsy driving illegal in New Jersey?
New Jersey was the first state to enact a law around drowsy driving. The law states that if a person is killed in an accident caused by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel or had been up for more than 24 hours, that person can be charged with vehicular homicide. New Jersey puts sleep-deprived in the same category as drunk driving.
What if I’ve been injured by a drowsy driver?
If you suffered injuries in a car accident due to a drowsy driver, you may have a valid personal injury claim against that driver. Drowsy driving is a form of negligent driving and drivers can be held liable for compensation for damages because of the accident. If you’ve been in an accident, it's best to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer who can advise you on your options.
Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, Can Help
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident that you believe was caused by another person's negligence, contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law and speak with a skilled car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Our firm has extensive experience in successfully representing a wide range of personal injury cases, and we pride ourselves in being able to provide clients with the passionate representation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.