Many dangerous driving habits receive media coverage and public awareness campaigns through public safety agencies. Drunk driving, drugged driving, seat belt use, and speeding are commonly targeted through such sources. Tired drivers also pose a serious safety risk, but this issue receives less attention than more dramatic road dangers.
Nonetheless, drowsy driving can injure drivers, passengers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and other road users. It is important for Hazleton drivers to understand the risks of drowsy driving in order to watch for signs of sleepiness behind the wheel and promote roadway safety for all Pennsylvanians.
The Facts About Drowsy Driving
Tired drivers are enough of a public safety hazard to warrant the attention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC reports that drowsy driving makes drivers less able to pay attention to the road, delays reaction times (a problem if the driver has to brake or steer suddenly), and otherwise affects a driver’s ability to make good decisions. These symptoms are more likely to affect certain drivers who are prone to tiredness. These include drivers who do not get enough sleep, commercial drivers of tractor trailers or buses, shift workers, drivers with untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, or drivers who take medications that can cause sleepiness.
Tired driving is also a widespread problem. The CDC reports that one in 25 adult drivers admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel in the past 30 days. The AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety reports that the problem is even more prevalent than previously thought. While official government statistics report drowsy driving to be a factor in only 1 to 2 percent of all motor vehicle crashes, AAA conducted a study which placed the figure closer to 9 to 11 percent.
The AAA study is believed to be a more accurate representation of drowsy driving because it involved in-vehicle cameras and other data collection equipment, which monitored drivers continuously over a period of several months. The study ultimately found that drowsy driving was a factor in 8.8 to 9.5 percent of all crashes, and 10.6 to 10.8 percent of accidents involving significant property damage, deployment of an air bag, or injury.
Certain times of the year can also result in more drowsy driving accidents. Daylight Savings Time is notorious for interfering with a normal sleep schedule, and this leaves many drivers tired. The Huffington Post reports that more pedestrians are killed during daylight savings changes than during any other time of the year. While many drivers are able to eventually re-establish a normal sleep pattern, it is important to be particularly cautious while on the road in the days immediately after a daylight savings change.
Driving while tired is a temptation that many Pennsylvanians have succumbed to at one point or another. While this may be an understandable lapse, it can be highly dangerous. It can also lead to legal findings of negligence which make a drowsy driver financially responsible for the damages or injuries caused in an auto accident.
A Hazleton car accident attorney can review the facts and circumstances of a crash and help determine the best course of action. Civil lawsuits create consequences, which promote safer driving habits in the future and compensate victims for losses.