Drowsy driving is an issue that does not get as much attention or media spotlight as it deserves. Study after study reveals that drowsy or tired driving can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk, yet millions of Americans continue to drive while overly tired every year. According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of adult drivers admitted to operating a vehicle while drowsy in 2005 and more than one-third of surveyed motorists admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel. Nearly 40 percent of all drivers say that they have either been involved in a car accident or had a close call for a collision because they were tired while driving.
Those statistics should seem alarming to anyone who calls the Phoenix area home as the Valley of the Sun is far from immune to the threat posed by tired drivers. And it is a difficult issue to address as driving while tired is a personal decision that must be reviewed by each driver individually; communities as a whole can raise awareness, encourage responsible conduct, and warn against the outcome of driving while tired but they cannot make the decision of whether or not to drive for a tired motorist – only the driver herself can do that.
Drowsy driving varies among different types of drivers and is more likely to occur among adults ages 18-29. Of those who drive drowsy, approximately 55 percent are male while 45 percent are female. Twenty-two percent of male drowsy drivers fall asleep at the wheel while 12 percent of females do and adults with children in their households are much more likely to drive drowsy than those who are kid-free. Workers who are employed during later shifts are also more likely to operate while tired and more likely to be involved in a collision as a result.
It is important to realize that the amount of sleep makes a significant difference in overall collision rates as the less sleep a drowsy driver got, the more likely that drowsy driver is to crash.
While a lack of sleep can be considered an epidemic in this country, it does not have to threaten public safety, and certain car manufacturers are taking steps to make that happen. Some newer vehicles possess technology known as “drowsiness alert,” a visual cue that usually appears on a dashboard if a driver is tired. This technology works by tracking the movements made by a motorist and analyzing them for patterns that indicate sleepiness. Often, the movements within a lane, the speed, and the braking skills of a driver are monitored by these drowsiness alerts and if the sensors detect a tired driver, the driver will receive a notification which is designed to encourage the driver to pull over and rest until she is safe to proceed.
Drowsiness alerts are not foolproof and can sometimes miss when a motorist is sleepy. Further, a driver is encouraged to stop when he is tired but the alert does not require it, meaning that a tired driver can ignore the warnings given by an alert and continue to pose a threat to public safety.
Yet experts agree that these alerts are better than nothing at all and believe that they may already be saving lives on Arizona roadways. If your vehicle has a drowsiness alert, make sure you familiarize yourself with the technology and give heed to any warnings you see while driving. It may save your life and the lives of others if you refrain from driving while tired, including those passengers who may be inside your car.
If you are the victim of a car accident that was caused by a drowsy driver, know that you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages. The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. offer a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation to victims who call us toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER or locally at (602) 819-5191 and we have a lawyer available 24/7 to help you. If you have questions or are in need of legal representation, please do not hesitate to call us today and to take advantage of our case consultation so that you can learn what options for relief may exist in your case.
Everything discussed during the consultation will be kept confidential and if we represent you, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf, so contact us now and let us get to work for you.
Prior Blog Entry:
National Government Considering Self-Driving Car Regulations, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published November 25, 2015.