Google Screened

The Danger of Drowsy Driving

The statistics speak for themselves

If you think fatigue doesn’t affect your driving, think again. Operating a motor vehicle when you’re tired isn’t just dangerous – it can be deadly. That’s the message a national newspaper and a private transportation service hope to convey in a new public service announcement. It is also a point health and safety experts have been driving home for years – and with good reason.

Statistics compiled by federal government agencies tasked with tracking accident information reveal that drowsy driving is a significant factor in fatal traffic accidents. It also plays a large part in motor vehicle crashes resulting in injuries. Nationally, more than 800 people died in accidents caused by or otherwise related to drowsy driving in 2014. In Pennsylvania, drowsy driving was linked to more than 2,500 motor vehicle accidents that year. Of those, 20 were fatal.

An assessment of an earlier five-year period (2005-2009) showed that on average, fatigued drivers caused more than 80,000 motor vehicle accidents per year. Of those, there were more than 800 fatal crashes and more than 35,000 crashes resulting in injuries each year.

The behavior has such disastrous consequences because it affects a driver’s reflexes, concentration and decision-making skills. Then there’s the potential for actually falling asleep and losing control of the car. Even so, motorists continue to push their luck on American roads.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that some drivers surveyed in two studies admitted to nodding off at the wheel within the past month.

The average adult should get at least seven hours of sleep per night. But the National Sleep Foundation estimates that 70 million Americans don’t get the recommended amount of rest. Sleep deprivation due to shiftwork, undiagnosed or untreated illness is frequently linked to drowsy driving.  Some occupations, such as interstate or “long haul” trucking are also associated with higher potential for this activity. Alcohol consumption and the use of certain medications can cause or heighten fatigue. But the fact remains that anyone can be susceptible to drowsy driving.

Some clues that you’re too tired to drive include excessive yawning or blinking. “Losing time,” drifting into another traffic lane or onto the shoulder are also hints that you need to take a break. By the time these symptoms surface, blasting the radio or opening the windows won’t help, experts say.

There are some simple things everyone can do to lessen the effects of drowsy driving. These include drinking caffeinated beverages or stopping to take a short nap. Clearly the best thing to do is make sure you’re well rested before you get behind the wheel. But whatever you do, the experts advise, do not drive if you haven’t gotten any sleep in the past day or so.

McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC:  Contact Our Experienced Philadelphia Drowsy Driving Lawyers Today

The bottom line is that some people will heed the warnings, and some people won’t. If you’ve been injured in a car crash caused by a sleepy driver, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Then consult an experienced Philadelphia accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC for a free consultation and evaluation of your case. You can reach us by phone at 215-569-8488, 302-888-1221 or you can set up a meeting online.