It is general knowledge that lack of sleep can cause numerous physical issues such as a compromised immune system, lack of concentration, and little concern for matters of importance. While these negative consequences are not great, they are not immediately life-threatening. This is not the case, however, when a sleep-deprived driver gets behind the wheel of a car. In fact, drowsy driving can increase a driver’s risk of being in a car accident that results in serious injuries and death.
The Risk Factors
There are several causes of drowsy driving accidents. Some examples include:
Lack of sufficient sleep: It is estimated that most adults require between seven and nine hours of restful sleep every night. When someone gets less than this amount of sleep, he or she can suffer from severe fatigue and sleep deprivation while behind the wheel;
Taking prescription medications that cause drowsiness: Many medications, both prescription and over the counter, can cause side effects that include sleepiness or drowsiness. This can slow reaction time or even cause a driver to fall asleep behind the wheel;
Sleep-disturbing medical conditions: Whether its sleep apnea, narcolepsy, hyper-somnolence or another medical condition that interferes with sleep, sufferers face an increased risk of car accidents when they drive;
Working swing or night shifts: When a person’s sleep cycle, or circadian rhythm, is out of sync, he or she can be tired during the day because of poor-quality sleep. This can pose an increased risk of car accidents when behind the wheel.
Regularly feeling tired behind the wheel is dangerous. If you are experiencing this, have a discussion with your healthcare provider about your lifestyle, medical conditions, or medication changes that can help make you more alert while driving.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowsy driving is a significant issue among adult drivers in the United States. In fact, the CDC estimates that 35% of American drivers get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep every night. A study conducted by the CDC revealed that one in 25 adult drivers surveyed admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel in the past 30 days. Moreover, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates tens of thousands of car accidents and hundreds of deaths each year occur as a result of drowsy driving.
The AAA studied video footage of drivers who agreed to place live cameras in their vehicles while they drove. Instead of capturing live footage of the vehicle’s movements, the cameras took live video of the drivers’ faces. At the end of the study, the AAA had recorded more than 700 drivers who were involved in a car accident. Researchers concluded nearly 10% of the crashes that occurred were the result of drowsy driving, and almost 11% of accidents that caused significant property damage involved a drowsy driver.
Car Accident Attorneys
Drowsy driving poses a higher risk of accidents on roads across the United States, and Las Vegas is no exception to this dangerous trend. The skilled attorneys at Parry & Pfau have years of experience handling personal injury cases in Las Vegas and across Nevada. Contact us today to learn about your options under the law.
(image courtesy of Tracey Hocking)