The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one of its recently conducted studies revealed that about 5 percent of drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel at least once in the last 30 days. The CDC conducted this study to truly illustrate the dangers of drowsy driving and the number of car accidents in Illinois and elsewhere.Other studies reveal even more alarming statistics. The National Sleep Foundation also conducted a similar study that determined that about a third of all drivers have fallen asleep while driving over the last year. Another 13 percent of drivers from that study reported falling asleep while driving at least once over the last 30 days.
Our Chicago car crash attorneys understand that these statistics are likely much, much higher. Not all drivers will willingly report to an officer that they were fatigued or drowsy during a traffic accident. For this reason, no true number can be recorded. There’s no equivalent to a Breathalyzer to monitor someone’s level of sleepiness.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are approximately 100,000 motor-vehicle accidents that happen every single year that are caused by fatigued drivers. These types of accidents kill approximately 1,550 people and injure 71,000 more. These accidents result in nearly $13 billion in losses every year.
Some studies even conclude that about a fourth of all traffic accidents involve a drowsy or fatigued driver, according to Automotive Industry Today.
Fatigued driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Both scenarios significantly reduce a driver’s ability to respond to traffic challenges and road hazards. The Centre for Sleep Research, which is based out of Australia, concludes that a driver that has been awake for about 18 hours has the same reactions as someone with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05. A driver that has been awake for an entire day, or 24 hours, has the same abilities as a driver that has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10. In Illinois, a driver is legally drunk when they’ve hit a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08.
One of the most ineffective ways that a driver can try to “cure” their sleepiness is to just pull through it. Many drivers believe that they can just drink some caffeine, open the windows or turn up the music to wake them up. These are only temporary fixes and won’t last long, putting you right back into serious risks for a car accident.
Tips to prevent fatigued driving accidents:
-Schedule driving breaks. A driver should stop every three hours. Use this time to get out of the car and stretch.
-Get enough regular sleep. Drivers who get an average of six or seven hours of sleep each night are as much as twice as likely to be involved in an accident as a driver who regularly gets eight hours of sleep. Drivers who average five hours of sleep are five times as likely to be involved in an accident.
-If you feel tired behind the wheel, pull over and rest or switch with a passenger. Never continue to drive if you feel sleepy at the wheel.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a fatigued driver, the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.
More Blog Entries:
Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Chicago Believed to be underestimated, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, August 25, 2011
Deadly Chicago area auto accident caused by wrong way driver, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, August 21, 2011