Study finds drowsy driving poses bigger threat than previously thought

According to a recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drowsy driving poses a bigger threat than earlier studies may have led us to believe. Estimates from the latest report show that drowsy driving is responsible for more than 6,000 deaths per year.

Drowsy driving also contributes to as many as:

  • 21 percent of all collisions resulting in a fatality within 30 days from the date of the collision (due to injuries sustained in the collision).
  • 13 percent of vehicle-related crashes in which at least one accident victim sustained injuries so severe that hospital admission was required.
  • 7 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in which one or more victims needed treatment for injuries.
  • 6 percent of all vehicle-related accidents in which property damage was severe enough to require at least one vehicle to be towed from the scene.
  • 5 percent of all crashes in which no significant injury was sustained.

These numbers far exceed the drowsy driving accident statistics reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 2005-2009. NHTSA said that drowsy driving was a factor in 1.4 to 2.5 percent of accidents.

One reason for the major discrepancy may be that most people either do not realize the impact their fatigue has on their ability to drive or are completely unaware of the fact they fell asleep prior to the accident.

How to Spot Signs of Driver Drowsiness or Fatigue

One of the simplest ways to avoid being involved in a potentially fatal drowsy driving accident is being able to correctly spot signs of driver fatigue. Some of the primary warning signs of drowsy driving, as listed by Sleep Review Magazine, include:

  • Repeated yawning.
  • Difficulty being able to focus.
  • An inability to keep your eyes open.
  • No recollection of the last stretch of road or highway traveled.
  • Nodding off.
  • Thoughts beginning to wander.
  • Repeatedly drifting, or almost drifting, out of your lane.
  • Unintentionally tailgating the vehicle in front of you.
  • Failing to notice traffic lights or other traffic signs.

Each of these is a clear sign that it may be time to pull over and get some rest or allow another driver to take over. Ignoring the signs of drowsiness while driving can prove fatal. Never underestimate the importance of staying alert while you are driving. It could save a life.

Drowsy Driving: A Type of Driver Negligence

Despite the fact that 95 percent of the American public agree that it is “unacceptable to drive when they are so tired that they have a hard time keeping their eyes open,” The Washington Post reports that approximately one out of every five vehicle accidents can be attributed to a driver having fallen asleep.

What this means is that despite drivers knowing better, many continue to get behind the wheel with inadequate rest. Whether or not a driver may be willing to admit he or she fell asleep at the wheel, there could be legal and financial consequences if it is determined that a driver caused an accident as a result of driving while drowsy or fatigued.

Contact Our Colorado Car Accident Law Firm

Attorney Steve Ray is a former Marine Corps judge now fights for the rights of accident victims in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident resulting from a drowsy driver, he brings more than 35 years of legal experience and military discipline to pursuing your claim for compensation.

He will meet with you to discuss your case and, if a claim is possible, pursue the maximum financial recovery available. If we cannot recover money for you, you will pay nothing for our legal services.

Contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation.