Many young drivers may already be at increased risk for a car accident because of inexperience or risky behavior. But a new study from Australia suggests that the likelihood of crashing may be increased when they get less than six hours of sleep each night.
The researchers focused on young drivers in Australia, but drowsy driving is also a concern in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 730 injury crashes were linked to a tired driver in 2009, and there were 832 fatalities, representing 2.5 percent of traffic fatalities in the U.S.
Previous findings have suggested that the effects of driving while tired can be compared to those who are intoxicated. Emergency room doctors have said that sleep deprivation can mimic inebriation. Tragically, too many people downplay the serious effects this can have on a person’s ability to pay attention to the road and the ability to react.
Signs of Drowsy Driving
Per DrowsyDriving.org from the National Sleep Foundation, the following are signs that a driver is drowsy and should not continue to operate a motor vehicle:
- drifting off the road or out of the lane;
- hitting rumble strip or going onto the shoulder;
- can’t remember the last several miles driven;
- trouble keeping head up;
- difficulty with focusing; and
- frequent yawning.
Sometimes motorists have a difficult time admitting or assessing whether they are too tired to drive. Whether it’s a young person or someone who has been driving for several decades, it is dangerous and could end up causing a serious car accident.
If it’s believed that drowsy driving was the cause of an accident that has resulted in serious or fatal injuries, contact an attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates. We can help collect the evidence necessary to show the other driver’s negligence and fault for the accident.