Fatigue presents a serious safety issue for motorist during any season. But much like drunk driving, driving accidents caused by drowsy drivers tend to spike around the time of major holidays. This is partially attributed to the fact that during the holiday season, more people travel longer distances or spend more time on local roads. In fact, Christmas and New Year’s following the Thanksgiving holidays are the top travel times for Americans. The average trip miles during Christmas and New Year’s is estimated at 275 compared with a national average of 261 miles for trips taken during the rest of the year.
Seasonal activities are also notorious for causing sleep deprivation; another major cause of drowsy driving. More time spent out shopping, on home improvement, decorating or preparing for the holidays cause interruptions in habituated sleep patterns. Driving for long hours without taking a break or engaging in more evening activities away from home also ramp up the number of drivers that are experiencing greater levels of fatigue or drowsiness behind the wheel. In a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of adult drivers or approximately 168 million people admit to driving while they were feeling drowsy. More than 37% or an estimated 103 million people admit that they have actually fallen asleep at the wheel. Approximately eleven million drivers say they were the cause of an accident or near accident because they dozed off or were too tired to drive.
Based on accident statistics and investigations, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also validate the premise that human fatigue presents as serious a risk to the traveling public as inebriation. Tests on long distance drivers who stay awake for 21 hours or more show that they experience decreased reaction times, impaired eyesight, and trouble maintaining consistent speeds. These are all similar symptoms exhibited by drunk drivers. In other words, a drowsy driver can present the same threat to the safety of themselves and others on the road as a drunk driver.
To avoid drowsy driving, the Centers for Disease Control suggest paying attention to the following warning signs…
- Frequent yawning or blinking while driving.
- Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven.
- Missing your exit.
- Involuntary lane drifting
- Hitting the rumble strip on the side of the road.
Drowsy driving cause 21% percent of all fatal crashes, 13% of injuries that require hospitalizations and 7% that require accident related treatment for injuries. Unfortunately for the motorists or passengers injured by a sleep impaired driver, there are no definitive tests that conclusively prove drowsiness. This can make it more difficult for accident victims to secure a fair compensation. Providing factual evidence that the negligent driver was drowsy or fell asleep at the wheel requires investigation. For this reason, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney soon after the accident; especially if serious injuries were sustained.
To learn more about what you can do if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident that was caused by a drowsy driver, call for a free consultation today at (561) 655-1990 or visit our website.
Conveniently located in West Palm Beach for 27 years, Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, LLP concentrates in Personal Injury, Wrongful death, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability and Auto accidents. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we specialize in helping victims and their families get fair compensation for injuries caused by the negligence or recklessness of others. Our main areas of practice include personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, and premise liability. We provide each client with the highest quality representation from a top Florida accident and injury lawyer.
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West Palm Beach
Florida, FL 33401
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