A Reality Check into the Dangers of Drowsy DrivingMarch 30, 2018
Drowsy driving does not get the same attention as drunk driving or distracted driving, but it can be just as dangerous, particularly if the individual falls asleep at the wheel. In fact, according to a report released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the percentage of drowsy driving-related crashes in the United States is eight times higher than the latest federal estimates. Unfortunately, it is much more difficult to confirm that a driver was drowsy at the time of an accident. By contrast, a breathalyzer test can confirm whether a driver was under the influence of alcohol, and police can check a driver’s phone to see if they were talking or texting at the time of the crash.
For their report, entitled, “Prevalence of Drowsy Driving Crashes: Estimates from a Large-Scale Naturalistic Driving Study,” researchers recruited 3,593 drivers from across the country to participate in the study. Their driving behaviors were continuously monitored using in-vehicle cameras, and other forms of data collection equipment for a period of several months. They were able to study the footage from over 700 crashes to determine the impact that drowsy driving has on an individual’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Study Results Highlight the Seriousness of Drowsy Driving
The researchers linked the percentage of time when a motorist’s eyes were closed to their level of drowsiness, using a scientific measure called the PERCLOS measure, which is the percentage of time that a person’s eyes are closed over a defined measurement interval. They found the following results:
- Nine and a half percent of all crashes involved drowsiness
- Close to 11 percent of crashes resulting in significant property damage involved a drowsy driver
- Federal estimates indicate that only one to two percent of accidents are caused by drowsy driving
Even two to three hours of missed sleep can make you four times more likely to be in a car accident, which is comparable to drunk driving statistics.
Knowing some of the common signs of drowsiness can help you avoid a wreck that can put you and others on the road at risk of serious injuries. Common warning signs include:
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open
- Drifting in and out of lanes
- Forgetting the last few miles of your trip
AAA recommends taking the following precautions, particularly if you plan on taking a long trip:
- Travel during the day if at all possible
- Avoid eating heavy foods
- Do not take medications that cause drowsiness
- Take a break every few hours, or every 100 miles
- Travel with another passenger who can share the driving responsibilities
- Pull over to a safe spot and take a nap for 20 minutes
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Drowsy Driving Accidents
If you have been injured in a car accident involving a drowsy driver, contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will fight to secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve and ensure that your legal rights are protected at all times. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.