Car and truck accidents and drowsy driving
Drowsy driving is one of the main causes for car and truck accidents here in the United States. Even though the danger may seem obvious, two out of five drivers admit to falling asleep while driving according to a car accident study recently released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. According to the same study, about 17% of fatal car and truck accidents are caused by drowsy drivers. The study looked at car crash information from 2000 to 2012.
Like drinking and driving, drowsy driving can slow down a driver’s reaction time, impair judgment, and decrease the driver’s awareness. Drowsy driving is responsible for an average of 4400 fatal car and truck accidents every year. In fact, staying awake for 24 hours creates the same level of impairment as consuming six alcoholic drinks or having a .10% BAC. The feeling of battling fatigue is also real. The body releases chemicals when it expects to sleep, and when a person fights to stay awake the concentration exerted by the brain can leave the person in a daze.
Some groups of drivers are more at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel than others. Commercial truck drivers are at a much higher risk of nodding off while driving because of the large amount of miles they rack up and because they are also at a greater risk to have sleep disorders. Tragic truck accidents take the lives of thousands each year. Teenage drivers are also at a higher risk because of their tendency to drive at night. Business travelers and shift workers are at greater risk too because of their irregular or nontraditional sleep patterns.