Why Drowsy Driving Is Considered Just as Dangerous as Drunk Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), drowsy driving was the cause of nearly 91,000 police-reported car accidents in the year 2017, and since then, the NHTSA maintains that recent numbers grossly underestimate all of the incidents actually caused by driver fatigue. Researchers say the exact numbers can be difficult to nail down, as they are only able to identify specific evidence that confirms drowsy driving as the cause for a crash, but the estimates they are able to provide give us an alarming perspective on just how serious the issue is on our roadways today.
Drunk Driving Is Not the Only Kind of Impaired Driving
Drowsy driving as a public safety issue garners so much attention largely for the fact that it is considered just as dangerous as drunk driving. The National Safety Council has deemed it a valid form of impaired driving, backing this claim up with research that shows the signs and effects of drunk driving and drowsy driving are the same. Here is why drowsy driving is considered just as dangerous as drunk driving:
- Studies have found that driving without sleep for more than 20 hours is actually the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08%, the legal limit in the U.S.
- A driver’s ability to concentrate, pay attention, and be aware of the presence of hazards is hindered when sleep-deprived. Similarly to driving under the influence of alcohol, a drowsy driver experiences slower reflexes and reaction times, impairing their ability to react quickly enough to prevent a collision.
- The National Safety Council reports that drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a car crash when they are fatigued. Fatigue affects both drunk drivers and sleep-deprived drivers and is a common symptom of impaired driving. Drunk and drowsy drivers alike experience the same signs of fatigue, such as frequent yawning and blinking, drifting out of their driving lane, and having trouble keeping their head up behind the wheel.
- Drowsy driving crashes have a tendency to happen between midnight and 6 a.m., which are the same hours that many drunk driving crashes take place.
Contact a Cook County Personal Injury Attorney
Experts recommend that drivers remain alert to possible impaired drivers around them by watching for the telltale signs of drowsiness. If you see someone drifting in and out of their lane, veering off to the side of the road, or frequently changing speed, maintain a safe driving distance from them and call the authorities the moment you believe they are at risk of hurting you, themselves, or other drivers. If you have been hit by a negligent driver, a knowledgeable DuPage County personal injury lawyer can help determine if drowsy driving played a role in the accident and inform you of your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Let the lawyers of Schwartz Injury Law address your concerns by calling 708-226-9000 and schedule a free consultation today.