THE RISKS OF DRIVING WHILE SLEEP-DEPRIVED
May 6, 2015
On behalf of Hyland Law Firm, LLC posted in Car Accidents on Wednesday, May 6, 2015.
Many Kansas drivers are aware of statistics that show drowsy driving may result in fatal accidents every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that 71,000 crash injuries and 1,550 deaths occur annually costing about $12.5 billion. However, such accident statistics are the result of a less than accurate reporting system.
In a 2005 study, 37 percent of the respondents admitted to having fallen asleep while driving, with 13 percent of that number said that it happened fairly routinely. In addition, 60 percent of the adult drivers who were surveyed admitted to driving while sleep-deprived in the previous year. The drivers most likely to drive drowsy are those in the 18 to 29 age group. As drivers age, the incidence decreases, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
According to AAA, an individual sleeping five hours has a risk up to five times greater than someone getting eight hours of sleep. Shift workers have a higher incidence of driving drowsy. Of the 71 percent of Americans who drive to work, 12 percent drive while drowsy multiple times each week. Documentation of drowsy driving is limited as to both scope and method. Unlike drunk driving, there is no quantitative test for drowsy driving. This limits reporting and that is generally the province of police who might be undertrained. Sleep deprivation, according to one study, mimics impairment with alcohol that is particularly noticeable after 18 hours.
The failure to maintain the level of alertness needed to drive safely may be considered negligence. This may result in an accident causing injuries to others, resulting in an inability of a victim to work while accumulating significant medical expenses. A personal injury attorney might pursue damages on behalf of an injured client in such a situation.