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The Dangers Of Drowsy Driving – The Mark Casto Law Firm

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2022 | Firm News

The Dangers Of Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving is a widespread problem in the United States. Thousands of car accidents occur when a driver falls asleep behind the wheel. However, the dangers of drowsy driving go beyond falling asleep behind the wheel. Fatigue, lack of sleep, certain sleep disorders, and medications can impair a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. A report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated that drowsy driving contributes to an estimated over 50,000 injuries and about 800 deaths per year. Drivers who get behind the wheel while drowsy or fatigued and cause accidents should be held accountable for the resulting injuries and damages suffered by victims. At The Mark Casto Law Firm, we help clients in car accident cases involving drowsy driving. Whether an individual was injured by a drowsy driver or someone else blames them for the accident because of their drowsiness, call to learn how our experienced attorneys can help ensure your legal rights remain protected. Call 706-450-7071 to get a case evaluation with an experienced personal injury lawyer today.

What Is Drowsy Driving?

Drowsy driving refers to the operation of a motor vehicle while experiencing signs of sleep deprivation and/or fatigue. While many people underestimate the dangers of drowsy driving, sleep deprivation and fatigue can affect the ability to drive safely and increase the risk of preventable collisions.

How Common Are Drowsy Driving Accidents?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 25 adult motorists admit having fallen asleep behind the wheel in the past 30 days. Unfortunately, drowsy driving is alarmingly common in the United States. There is no accurate data to indicate the number of motor vehicle accidents caused by drowsy driving because drowsiness is difficult to prove in the aftermath of the collision.

Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Driving while fatigued or sleepy significantly increases the risk of a car crash. A sleep-deprived driver may fall asleep behind the wheel or experience what is known as “microsleep,” which refers to periods of sleep lasting a few seconds when a person closes their eyes. Even a few seconds could be enough to result in a collision between vehicles or cause the vehicle to run off the road.

According to the CDC, sleep deprivation can result in impairments similar to drunk driving. Being awake for 24 hours without sleep is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .10%, which is over the legal limit (.08%). The dangers of drowsy driving include the effect of drowsiness on the driver’s reaction time, coordination, judgment, decision-making abilities, and overall driving performance. When a drowsy driver causes a collision, the knowledgeable personal injury attorney at The Mark Casto Law Firm can help the victim pursue compensation for their losses and damages.

What Are the Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving?

Many people do not think that drowsy driving is dangerous, which is why there are so many sleep-deprived, sleepy, and fatigued drivers on our roads. However, it is vital to watch out for the warning signs of drowsy driving to know when a driver should stop driving immediately and get some sleep. These signs include:

  • Difficulty focusing on the road
  • Difficulty keeping one’s eyes open
  • Frequent yawning
  • The need to rub one’s eyes to stay awake
  • Difficulty keeping one’s head up
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Failure to notice traffic signs
  • Running red lights
  • Drifting out of the lane
  • Swerving off the road
  • Difficulty understanding where to go even when driving on familiar roads

These signs may indicate that a driver is sleep-deprived and needs to get some rest before accidents occur.

Who Is Most at Risk for Drowsy Driving?

Even though anyone can experience drowsiness while operating a motor vehicle, especially when deprived of sleep, some people are more at risk for falling asleep behind the wheel and causing drowsing driving accidents.

  • Young men. Young male drivers account for a large percentage of accidents involving drowsy driving. Compared to other drivers, young men are more likely to be fatigued and deprived of sleep because of their lifestyle choices.
  • Night-shift workers. Night-shift work increases the likelihood of drowsy driving because of disruption of the worker’s natural sleep patterns.
  • Travelers. Those who operate a motor vehicle after traveling and crossing different time zones are at risk for drowsy driving due to what is known as “jet lag.”
  • People who do not get enough sleep. Even though a person may feel fine after sleeping five, four, or fewer hours at night, their “sleep debt” may grow larger over time. As the need for sleep increases, a driver is more likely to experience the negative effects of drowsiness on their driving performance.
  • Drivers with sleep disorders. A driver may be drowsy because of disorders or medical conditions. Common types of sleep disorders that may not allow a driver to get normal sleep include obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and insomnia. According to the Sleep Foundation, OSA affects an estimated two to nine percent of adults in the United States.
  • Drivers who use certain medications. Certain medications may make a driver drowsy. For this reason, it is vital to check the side effects and warning labels before getting behind the wheel after being prescribed a new medication. Common examples of medications that may make a driver drowsy include antidepressants, cold or cough medicine, sleeping pills, and high blood pressure medication.
  • Drivers who consume alcohol. Drinking alcohol, in and of itself, can affect the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely because intoxication impairs a driver’s reaction time, coordination, and judgment. However, consumption of alcohol also carries the dangers of drowsy driving because alcohol can induce feelings of relaxation and sleepiness.

Drowsy Driving Accident Attorneys at The Mark Casto Law Firm

When a driver or passenger becomes a victim of a car crash caused by a drowsy driver, they may be entitled to financial compensation. However, an injured victim may need the assistance of an experienced attorney to pursue a legal claim and obtain the compensation they deserve. At The Mark Casto Law Firm, our personal injury attorney with a law office in Columbus, CA, handles all types of motor vehicle accidents, including those involving drowsy drivers. Our attorneys understand the dangers of drowsy driving and are prepared to fight on behalf of accident victims and their families. Our law firm offers free strategy sessions at 706-450-7071.

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