Unseen Danger: Drowsy Drivers are Lethal Weapons
Spring is here and Summer is around the corner — with extra hours of daylight. The open road beckons … and with it, the lure of more driving. Unfortunately, few of us get enough sleep, and many get behind the wheel after a late night out. Most drivers push themselves despite fatigue, medication, illness and stress. Combine a tired driver with an 4,000 pound vehicle barreling at 60mph, and you have an accident-in-waiting. A fatigued driver is a veritable ‘loaded gun’.
Too Many Crashes Result from Drowsy Driving
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s recent study, drowsiness causes about 10% of all car crashes. That is 5 to 10 times higher than previous Federal estimates.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 out of 25 drivers fell asleep while driving within the last 30 days.
Drowsy Driving Equals Drunk Driving
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) reports that drowsy driving mirrors drunk driving. According to the NSF, being awake for:
18 consecutive hours makes driving like your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .05 (in all 50 states, a .08 BAC is the legal limit
24 straight hours makes driving like your BAC is .10 (well past the legal limit)
More sobering statistics: per an NSF poll, 60% of drivers admit to driving while feeling sleepy, and 37% admit to falling asleep behind the wheel within the last year.
More than Lack of Sleep
Besides insufficient (or inadequate) sleep, drivers often are tired because they:
Drive late at night (often after midnight)
Eat poorly or rely on caffeine
Are angry or distressed
Are ‘out of synch’ with their bodies’ natural rhythms
Drive long uninterrupted stretches (“highway hypnosis”)
Work too many hours
May have an underlying sleep disorder
Are inexperienced or unaware of local conditions / hazards
Are overstimulated (including from electronics)
Do not take enough rest breaks
Driver fatigue doesn’t necessarily mean falling asleep or dozing behind the wheel. Tired drivers react slower, have impaired judgment, and may not recognize (or appreciate) hazardous weather or road conditions. They are less attentive and more easily distracted — all of that a recipe for disaster.
Catastrophic Injuries and Staggering Costs
Motor vehicle accidents often result in substantial lifelong, catastrophic injuries – or death. Injuries include lost arms or legs, head injuries, brain damage, deep cuts, bruises, broken bones, dental/jaw injuries, paralysis, spinal cord damage, impaired motor coordination, significant pain, and emotional trauma. They take a huge toll not only on the person involved in the crash, but also on their family members, caretakers, coworkers and employers. Injuries can cost millions, require multiple surgeries and rehabilitation, and last months, years or a lifetime. Some never recover.
Sadly, the wreckage is avoidable. The financial, emotional and physical pain takes a huge toll.
Hurt? In an Accident? Call an Experienced Richmond, Virginia Personal Injury Attorney Today for Help
If you or someone you know was hurt or in an accident, don’t delay. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Trust the experienced, caring professionals at Emroch & Kilduff — “Personal Attention for Personal Injury”. Call us right away (888-358-1568 or 727-269-5300), or contact us confidentially. Our legal team will make you our priority and put your mind at ease. We are seasoned personal injury lawyers, with decades of expertise. We listen. We will answer your questions, evaluate your circumstances, and discuss your options.