According to a recent survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), over 168 million Americans admitted to driving a vehicle while drowsy. The survey also revealed that over 103 million people have fallen asleep at some point while driving. If those statistics aren't startling enough, approximately 11 million people reported being involved in a car accident that was the direct result of falling asleep behind the wheel.
The NSF's survey helped shed light on fatigued driver car accidents, which may be largely under-reported due to the lack of specific measurements to determine a drivers level of sleepiness after an auto accident.
In fact, the NSF's survey may prove that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA) information on drowsy driver accidents is grossly underestimated. On average, the NHTSA reports that 100,000 car accidents are caused by driver fatigue each year. The NHTSA also estimates that 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries are caused by drivers who are too sleepy to drive safely.
In an effort to reduce the number of fatigued driver car accidents, the National Sleep Foundation hosts Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. This annual campaign is aimed at educating the public about the dangers of driving while sleepy, as well as promoting awareness on how to keep the roads free of sleepy drivers.
While anyone can potentially find themselves in a fatigued driving situation, there are certain factors that can elevate ones risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.
How old you are. Drivers between the ages of 18 and 29 are three times more likely to drive while fatigued than any other age group. Additionally, drivers in this age group are less likely to pull off the road to take a nap if they become drowsy while driving.
What you do for a living. Commercial truck drivers and those who work differentiating shifts are more likely to drive when tired than those who work a consistent, regular schedule. In fact, more than thirty-six percent of all truck drivers and shift workers have reported dozing off while driving at least once during the past month.
What gender you are. Men are more likely than women to drive while sleepy, and they are almost twice as likely as women to fall asleep behind the wheel.
Where you live. People who live in urban areas are more prone to dozing off while driving than those living in rural or suburban areas.
How much you sleep. People who consistently get less than six hours of sleep per night are five times more likely to cause a fatigued driver car accident than drivers who get eight or more hours of sleep per night. Additionally, people suffering from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or acute insomnia are also at a greater risk for sleep-related accidents.
How many children you have. Drivers with one or more children in the household are more likely to drive drowsy than drivers who don't have any children.
Sleep deprivation and driving while fatigued make lapses in attention more likely to occur and can increase the likelihood of being involved in an accident. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident caused by a fatigued driver, contact a knowledgeable Sacramento car accident lawyer at The Arnold Law Firm today. Our Sacramento, CA personal injury attorneys have been protecting the rights of accident victims for more than three decades.
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