Why Drowsy Driving is Comparable to Drunk Driving
There are many causes of drowsy driving crashes, such as lack of adequate sleep, untreated sleep disorders, medications, and working off-hour shifts. No matter what the reason, every driver has likely gotten behind the wheel feeling sluggish and tired at one time or another. Many do not realize the hazards of drowsy driving and how it's just as dangerous as driving drunk. Read on to learn the statistics that demonstrate the impact drowsy driving has on road safety and how to avoid it.
Drowsy Driving Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowsy driving is defined as "operating a motor vehicle while fatigued or sleepy." Drowsy driving puts everyone on the road in danger. The consequences could be catastrophic since many studies and reports show that driving drowsy has the same effect on individuals who drive while intoxicated. The CDC analyzed drowsy driving-related data and surveyed responses from 2009 to 2010 and found that:
- On average, 1 out of 25 adults 18 or older reported that they had fallen asleep while driving in the past 30 days.
- People who snored or slept less than 6 hours per day were more likely to fall asleep at the wheel.
Drowsy driving has the same effects as driving while intoxicated, including having slower reaction time, reduced alertness, and impaired decision making. According to the CDC:
- Being awake for 18 hours or more is the same as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%.
- Being awake 24 hours or more equates to having a BAC of 0.10%.
In most states, the BAC limit is 0.08%.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2019, 697 people died in drowsy driving-related crashes. The following data was taken from police-reported crashes in 2017:
- Roughly 91,000 crashes involved drowsy drivers.
- Nearly 50,000 people were injured in drowsy driving crashes.
- Drowsy driving accidents caused approximately 800 deaths.
How to Prevent Drowsy Driving
While drowsy driving crashes can happen at any time of day, the NHTSA reports that drowsy driving crashes happen more commonly between midnight and 6 am or in the late afternoon. This can be due to a drop in a person's circadian rhythm, the internal clock that regulates sleep. Here are some tips via the National Sleep Foundation on how to prevent drowsy driving:
- Get a good night's sleep. Adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep, and 8 to 10 is recommended for teens.
- For long trips, drive with a companion who can switch driving duties and watch out for signs of drowsy driving. Keep alert and your blood flowing by taking rest breaks every two hours to stretch and walk.
- Refrain from taking any medications that are known to cause drowsiness before getting behind the wheel.
- If drowsiness is a persistent and daily occurrence, see your doctor get to the root of the problem and find out if you may have a sleep disorder.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident due to another driver's careless actions, you have the right to file a claim and hold them accountable. Our experienced personal injury attorneys have been serving the wrongfully injured for over 50 years. We understand how insurance companies operate. We'll work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for our clients. Let us protect your right to receive the maximum compensation that you deserve.
Contact Rosenberg & Rosenberg, P.A. today at (888) 499-6206 to schedule a free consultation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Drowsy Driving
The National Sleep Foundation: Put Sleep First. Drowsy Driving is Dangerous.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: January 4, 2013