Drowsy driving has become a hot button issue, as the risks associated with fatigued driving have become ever more apparent. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night and most people are not getting this essential rest. Drivers who are overtired frequently get behind the wheel, putting everyone on the road at risk of serious accidents.
While the risks of drowsy driving have become increasingly more evident, a new study sheds additional light on the scope of the drowsy driving problem. Fatigued driving has been called an “epidemic” in the United States, and the new study provides support for this claim.
When a fatigued driver chooses to get behind the wheel, that driver endangers himself as well as others on the road. A New Jersey injury attorney can help harmed individuals pursue claims for compensation by taking appropriate legal action if a drowsy driver hurts them.
How Big is the Drowsy Driving Problem?
CBS Local reported on the scope of the drowsy driving problem discussed in the new study, which was conducted in a joint effort by State Farm Insurance and the Governors Highway Safety Association. The study demonstrated that there are approximately 84 million drivers within the United States who drive while they are too fatigued.
These drivers can experience many of the same impacts from their fatigue as someone who drank too much alcohol would experience. Delayed reflexes, impairment of judgement and a tendency to start dozing off are characteristic of both driver fatigue and driver intoxication.
Since so many people are driving while fatigued and since the risks of doing so are so great, it should come as no surprise that there were around 5,000 reported deaths due to drowsy driving in 2015. The death count may actually be understated because not every drowsy driving crash is accurately reported as a collision that was caused by a fatigued driver.
Not only are people dying and getting hurt in drowsy driving accidents, but drowsy driving is also costing a substantial amount of money. The estimated costs of fatigued driving, including loss of productivity and loss of wages in addition to actual medical expenditures, is an estimated $109 billion in losses every single year.
It is the responsibility of drivers to try to take steps to reduce these costs and losses by avoiding fatigued driving, getting out of the car and not continuing to operate a vehicle once they find that they are too tired to pay careful attention to the road.
If you are one of the many victims who has been affected by someone's decision to drive while fatigued, you do not need to simply accept the losses that the overtired driver has caused you. Victims hurt in a crash, or surviving family members of those killed in a crash, should consult with an injury attorney at Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, P.A. to pursue a claim for losses.