Oct 19, 2014 - Articles - by Dodson & Hooks, APLC
In today’s fast-paced society, many people feel the pressure to pack more into their days. One of the casualties of people’s extended days is the amount of sleep that people get each night. While less sleep may not seem like a big deal, sleep deprivation can have a huge impact on people’s abilities to do daily tasks, such as driving. In an effort to call attention to the safety problem that that drowsy drivers pose, the National Sleep Foundation has declared November 3-10, 2013 “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.” Research issued in October 2013 supports the need to call the public’s attention to this safety issue. A study published in the October 15, 2013 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine further reinforced the dangers that drowsy drivers pose to others on the road.
Study shows dangers of drowsy drivers
Researchers working on the study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine wanted to know how sleep apnea impacted people’s driving abilities. Those who suffer from sleep apnea stop breathing several times during the night, causing them to move from deeper levels of sleep into lighter levels of sleep. People with sleep apnea get less restful sleep than others, and often suffer fatigue during the day.
Researchers looked at the incidents of automobile accidents among 2,673 people with sleep apnea. They discovered that those with sleep apnea have auto accidents at a rate three times higher than the population as a whole.
Drowsy driving a widespread problem
The October 2013 study is the latest research that illuminates the dangers of drowsy driving. According to the National Sleep Foundation, driving while drowsy is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. The American Automobile Association reports that one in six fatal motor vehicle accidents and one out of eight auto accidents with injuries requiring hospitalization are attributable to drowsy driving. A poll conducted by AAA also revealed that 41 percent of drivers polled had fallen asleep behind the wheel at some time in their lives, and 10 percent had done so within the past year. Of those responding to the poll, 27 percent admitted that within the past month they had driven even though they were so tired that they had difficulty keeping their eyes open.
Speak with an attorney
When people push themselves to drive when they are too tired to function properly, they are doing much more than taking their own lives into their hands. They are also putting everyone else on the road in danger. Drowsy drivers who cause auto accidents need to be held accountable for the damage they cause. If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by another’s negligence, talk to a skilled car accident attorney who can help you recover for your losses.