21
Aug 2014
By

Drowsy Driving Major Accident Risk in Orange County

According to the California Highway Patrol, more than 1,600 people were killed in drowsy driving crashes in the state of California in a single year. Driving while drowsy is obviously extremely dangerous. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that around 1,550 fatalities, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion in monetary losses occur each year as a direct result of drivers who cause collisions because they are drowsy. Despite the risks, more than 1/3 of people admit to falling asleep behind the wheel and around 60 percent of adult drivers said they’ve driven drowsy over the course of the past year. 

The risks of drowsy driving have become more well publicized, but motorists are not changing their behavior. If you or a loved one is involved in a collision with a fatigued driver, you need to pursue a claim for compensation. A personal injury lawyer can help.

Drowsy Driving is the #1 Problem for Motorists

According to CheatSheet, 60 percent of drivers responding to recent surveys said they believe drowsy driving should be illegal. The behavior is currently illegal only in Arkansas, which charges fatigued motorists with negligent homicides for causing fatalities, and in New Jersey, which classifies drowsy driving as reckless driving.

Although most drivers think drowsy driving should be illegal, the majority are doing it anyway. A recent survey of 2,000 drivers conducted by CarInsurance.com asked drivers about the times that they drove when they knew that it was not safe for them to do so. A total of 68 percent of the drivers who drive when it wasn’t safe said that they were sleepy at the time when they drove when they shouldn’t. This was higher than any other reason for unsafe driving, including intoxicated driving or driving while feeling sick.

It comes as no surprise that so many people are driving fatigued when considering how little sleep people are getting. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 29 percent of people get less than six hours of sleep and 41.31 percent get between six and seven hours of sleep. Only 21.48 percent of survey respondents got between seven and eight hours of sleep a night, and 8.21 percent got more than eight hours.

Psych Central says that the majority of adults require between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. Well over half of the adult population may not be getting this on a regular basis. Getting an insufficient amount of sleep creates a “sleep debt” and “eventually your body will demand that the debt be repaid.”

Getting too little sleep can slow reaction times and have a similar effect of being drunk, even if you do not doze off while driving. Some motorists actually close their eyes and fall asleep. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that sleeping drivers are likely to become involved in head-on collisions, read-end accidents and road-departure crashes.

Drivers need to understand the risks and make informed choices. Most people know drowsy driving is dangerous and they need to act on this knowledge and avoid getting behind the wheel when they are too fatigued to drive safely.

If you’ve been injured, or you lost a loved one, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 to schedule a consultation.