A person who is sleep-deprived behind the wheel is just as likely to cause a car accident as someone impaired by alcohol. The National Transportation Safety Board has been on a mission since 1967 to educate the country on the dangers of sleep fatigue. The NTSB proposes safety guidelines to federal and state governments as well as private companies.
A person who is awake for 24 hours straight performs at the same level as a person who has a .10 blood alcohol level, which is high enough to be regarded as legally drunk in every state. Regulations that govern all kinds of drivers, pilots and operators have only recently been updated, but the NTSB still says transportation guidelines lag behind the science.
The NTSB says the barriers to the adaption of new laws are cultural and also bureaucratic. The NTSB says the ideas that surround fatigue and driving now are similar to attitudes about driving under the influence 20 years ago. A NTSB investigator explained, "At one time, there was a sense that if you're under alcohol you can power your way through it, but that's no longer tolerated." What is also dangerous is that people have a very hard time in recognizing their own fatigue. Many times people pride themselves on how much work they have accomplished on the small amount of sleep they received the night before.
Experts say anyone who gets less than eight hours of sleep per night has a sleep deficiency and will not function 100 percent efficiently. People who lack sleep have longer reaction times and shorter attention spans. Those sleep fatigued also lose the ability to manage multiple tasks effectively and instead narrow in on one task, which increases their chance to commit mistakes.
If you have been injured in an auto accident by a sleep-deprived driver, call the Pittsburgh car accidents attorneys at Goodrich & Geist today for a free consultation at 800-806-2456 or 412-766-1455.