Most drivers in Ohio understand that drunk driving is irresponsible and puts people’s lives at risk, but perhaps fewer people are aware of just how quickly drowsy driving can lead to an accident. Like distracted driving, driver fatigue can be as dangerous as driving while impaired by alcohol.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that an average of about 40,000 nonfatal injuries and 1,550 deaths are due to driver drowsiness. The NHTSA also notes that these kinds of crashes are under-reported.
Drowsiness impairs judgment, slows reaction time and slows information processing. Consequently, sleepiness can greatly impair driver performance.
The NHTSA has sought to educate commercial and non-commercial drivers about the risks of drowsy driving. In particular, young people, shift workers and individuals with untreated narcolepsy or sleep apnea syndrome have been the focus of educational efforts because those groups have been shown to pose the highest risk.
Statistics show that drowsy drivers are less likely than fully awake drivers to make corrective maneuvers, such as hitting the brakes, before an accident. The NHTSA also reports that most drowsy-driving crashes happen on high-speed roads in rural or non-urban areas, and 82 percent of fatigue-related accidents involved only one vehicle occupant. The data suggest that having a second occupant in the vehicle reduces the likelihood of a drowsy-driving crash.
Sleep experts agree that adults generally need about eight hours of sleep a night, but many drivers get on the road each day with significantly less than eight hours of quality rest.
If you have been injured because of a commercial or non-commercial driver’s fatigue, then you may want to speak with a personal injury attorney about investigating your case and bringing a negligence claim against the fatigued driver.