In November, our Montgomery injury lawyers discussed our support for Drowsy Driving Prevention Week and the risks associated with exhausted drivers behind the wheel. We mentioned that drowsy driving is dangerous for everyone, including teens and professional drivers, and discussed that drowsy driving can be just as serious as driving drunk.
Now, a new report is out indicating that drowsy driving awareness is more important than ever. The New York Times covered the report in a January 4th article and the details are enough to make any driver concerned.
Drowsy Driving a Widespread Risk
With around 730 fatal accidents in 2009 attributed to drowsy driving, government researchers decided to take action to get a little more information about the scope of the problem. According to the New York Times, an epidemiologist working at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention undertook a widespread survey on the dangers of drowsy driving.
The survey involved numerous detailed questions about daily activities including sleep habits, work habits and driving habits. The study was administered to 147,000 adults across 19 different states as well as the District of Columbia and it shed a lot of light on just how many people are choosing to drive when they are fatigued. According to the survey respondents:
- Approximately 4 percent of adults nationwide admitted that they had fallen asleep while they were driving.
- Men were more likely to report driving while fatigued than women.
- At least five percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 44 admitted to drowsy driving. Youth were the largest group of drowsy drivers.
- The number of people driving while fatigued declines with age. Only 1.7 percent of people aged 65 and older reported driving while drowsy.
- Snoring and short sleep duration were both associated with a greater likelihood of drowsy driving. Snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep and breathing challenges while sleeping, which can help to explain why those who snore are more likely to be tired behind the wheel.
These statistics should be cause for concern for every driver. Although 4 percent of people falling asleep behind the wheel may not seem like much, when you consider how many drivers there are, that is millions and millions of people who might be nodding off.
Is There Hope for Curbing Drowsy Driving Dangers?
While the new survey reported in the New York Times indicates that the dangers of drowsy driving are quite widespread, there is hope that people are getting help and trying to improve their sleeping habits, which could curb drowsy driving risks.
On December 19, for example, Money News reported that more Americans than ever before have been seeking help for sleep disturbances.
According to the Money News Article, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine announced that it has accredited its 2,500th sleep center. This is a record high since the first center was accredited back in 1977 and there are now five times more sleep centers than were in business a decade ago. The increase in the number of centers has been prompted by more Americans than ever being proactive in solving problems related to insufficient sleep.
As Americans increasingly seek treatment for problems impacting their sleep, the hope is that there will be fewer drowsy drivers on the road and that the roads will become a safer place for everyone.
If you’ve been injured in a drowsy driving accident, call Allred & Allred P.C. at 334.396.9200 to speak with a personal injury attorney today.
Alabama Traffic Safety: Make Safe Driving Your 2013 Holiday Resolution, Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog, January 3, 2013.