Drowsy driving causes car accidents, which can result in serious injuries and even death. Although everyone knows driving while fatigued is not a good idea, many people are not aware of just how great the risk can be.
Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. The legal limit for driving in the U.S. is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent. However, the impairment level of a person who has been awake for 24 hours is equivalent to a BAC of 0.10 percent.
When someone attempts to drive on less than six hours of sleep, there are measurable decreases in reaction time, information processing ability and short-term memory, all of which affect a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
Every year, drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 crashes, 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. One in four drivers in the U.S. — more than 130 million people — admit to falling asleep while driving in their lifetime. The true numbers may be even higher because people may not admit to falling asleep while driving, and it can be difficult to compile statistics on drowsy driving, since states report the causes of crashes in different ways.
There are certain warning signs and risk factors that drivers should be aware of. Most drowsy driving crashes occur between midnight and 2 a.m. and between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., and 55 percent of such accidents are caused by drivers younger than 25. People driving alone, for a long time without a break, or on dark, featureless roads are more likely to be affected by fatigue. Prescription medications, cold medicine and even tiny amounts of alcohol can all increase the effects of drowsiness.
Please remember to be safe on the road. If you were injured in an automobile accident, call Chalik & Chalik Law Offices for a free consultation.