A new study confirms what many Virginians may have already suspected. Driving while tired or drowsy is dangerous. In fact, driving without proper rest can even be deadly. According to the study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, every day there are approximately 84 million American drivers on the roads who are sleep-deprived. This sleep deprivation contributed to many fatal car collisions in 2015, and resulted in the deaths of approximately 5,000 individuals. Sleep-deprived driving has been identified as a factor in almost 20 percent of auto accident fatalities.
Those drivers most at risk for drowsy driving are young adults and teens, who are involved in more than fifty percent of crashes stemming from sleep-deprived driving every year. Furthermore, people with sleep disorders or those who work irregular shifts or at night may be more likely to be drowsy drivers.
The danger of drowsy driving is not one to be taken lightly, and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has reacted accordingly, as it now includes drowsy driving in its definition of impaired driving, along with distracted, drugged and drunk driving.
A lack of sleep reduces a driver's ability to act quickly on the road, and a reduced reaction time can subsequently increase the likelihood of a car accident. A drowsy driver may swerve into oncoming traffic or even drive the wrong way on a road. Thus, a person who has not had sufficient sleep may be driving with reduced abilities, just like someone who is intoxicated.
Anyone who has been injured in a car accident due to the fault of a drowsy driver may find that an attorney can offer helpful guidance regarding legal options.
Source: healthfinder.gov, "Drowsy Driving Causes 1 in 5 Fatal Crashes: Report," Aug. 8, 2016