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5 Tips to Avoid Being a Statistic Due to Driving Drowsy

SLEEP DEPRIVATION RESULTS IN IMPAIRED DRIVING.

According to the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine, over 250,000 drivers fall asleep at the wheel every day! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drowsy driving accounts for more than 100,000 crashes resulting in approximately 1,550 deaths and 40,000 injuries each year. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that 1 out of every 6 (16.5%) deadly traffic accidents and 1 out of 8 (12.5%) motor vehicle crashes that require hospitalization of car drivers or passengers is due to drowsy driving. (AAA, 2010). Studies show that drowsiness or sleepiness can impair driving performance as much or more so than alcohol (Dawson and Reid, 1997; Powell, 2001). The Institute of Medicine published a report in 2005 that nearly 70 million people suffer from some type of sleeping disorder.

DRIVING DROWSY IS A MAJOR CAUSE OF TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS.

Sleep deprivation, also known as sleep deprived driving or drowsy driving, is a major cause of traffic accidents. When a driver fails to get adequate sleep, the driver’s ability to function is affected. The National Transportation Board (NTSB) reports that drowsy driving is the likely cause of more than half of the crashes leading to a truck driver’s death while operating a semi-truck. For each truck driver killed another 3 to 4 people are killed. A study of long-haul truck drivers in the USA and Canada found that truck drivers averaged less than 5 hours of sleep per day.   Sleepiness can impair driving performance as much or more so than alcohol, studies show. (Dawson and Reid, 1997; Powell, 2001)

A recent study of 80 long-haul truck drivers in the United States and Canada found that drivers averaged less than 5 hours of sleep per day. In the fall of 2013, Congress passed a law (Public Law 113-45 requiring the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to propose guidelines relating to the screening of sleep apnea among commercial drivers.

Sleep deprivation impairs coordination, judgment, memory and a driver’s ability to reatin information. Sleep deprivation also creates longer reaction times.

THE SIGNS THAT A DRIVER NEEDS TO PULL OFF THE ROAD AND REST

There are a number of signs that signal that a driver needs to pull of the road and rest including:

1) Yawning and rubbing of the eyes;

2) Difficulty keeping the driver’s head up;

3) Inability to focus; wandering and disconnected thoughts - daydreaming;

4) Frequently blinking and/or heavy eyelids; and,

5) Feeling restless and irritable.

There have been a number of studies that equate sleep deprivation with driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. A study in Britain found that after driving 17 to 18 hours as harmful as driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%, the legal limit in many European countries. Some researchers have concluded that driving a motor vehicle while sleep deprived is more dangerous than driving a motor vehicle under the influence of a minor amount of alcohol.

There’s more to the equation than simply getting more sleep. Some people suffer from sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea and other diseases. However, when they choose to drive due to lack of rest, the threat emposes a danger not only to themselves, but also to any and all drivers and passengers that are within the zone of danger where they drive.

If you are suffering from sleep deprivation or ar suffering from the signs of driving while drowsy here are 5 tips to consider to avoid becoming a statistic and/or creating a risk of harm to others:

1. Watch for the signs of drowsiness as noted above;

2. Pull off the road. AAA recommends that drivers get at minimum of 6 hours of sleep before taking a long road trip. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that drivers get no less than 6 to 7 hours of sleep before driving. But if you are suffering from the signs of fatigue, pull of the road and take a nap;

3. Use a designated driver. Since the risk of getting into an accident has been equated as one driving under the influence of alcohol, it’s a good idea to designate a companion driver to take over the driving if you are showing the signs of a fatigue or that of a drowsy driver;

4. Use public transportation. Riding a bus, train or taking a cab when a designated driver allows a fatigued driver to get to a destination without falling asleep at the wheel; and,

5. Don’t disregard medication labels. Don’t drive under the influence of any pharmacetical drugs that create drowsiness. Take note of medication labels that instruct the driver not to operate heavy equipment machinery including a motor vehicle while under the influence.

BOISE PERSONAL INJURY AND AUTO ACCIDENT TRIAL LAWYER ALAN MORTON HAS THE EXPERIENCE YOU NEED TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR AUTO ACCIDENT CLAIM.

If you or a loved one become the victim of a drowsy or distracted driver, you should consult with an experienced trial attorney. Boise Personal Injury and Auto Accident Trial Lawyer Alan Morton has over 32 years of experience in helping victims of negligence understand their legal rights and remedies. You can reach Mr. Morton to schedule a free initial consultation at 208.344.5555, toll free at 888.716.8021 or by completing an online consultation form. Mr. Morton is available to schedule a free initial consultation in a confidential setting either at his office or your home, workplace, hospital or any other convenient location. Mr. Morton has been rated and recognized by AVVO, an independent lawyer rating service, with its highest ranking of 10.0 - Superb in three (3) categories of Car Accidents, Personal Injury and Litigation, respectively. Mr. Morton and his staff work hard to provide outstanding service to their clients. You can review the testimonial page of Mr. Morton’s former clients for their reviews regarding the service they received as a client.


Alan Morton
Advocate for Justice/Trial Lawyer