Virginia residents and drivers across the nation should be aware of the danger of drowsy driving. It is so prevalent that regulatory agencies are dedicating entire weeks of the year to preventing it. Drowsy driving can lead to car accidents that cause injuries and fatalities.
The first week in November will be Drowsy Driving Week. The National Sleep Foundation states that approximately 50% of adult drivers across the nation say they have regularly gotten behind the wheel while they were drowsy. An estimated 20% said that in the previous year, they fell asleep while driving. More than 40% said they had fallen asleep while driving at least once during their time behind the wheel.
Drowsy driving can be comparable to being a drunk driver as it negatively impacts reaction time and judgment. Individuals who have not slept for more than 20 hours drive as if they have enough alcohol in their system to be considered legally drunk. Fatigued drivers have triple the chance of being in a car collision. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that there are as many as 100,000 auto accidents that are reported to law enforcement that are due to drowsy driving. In these crashes, 71,000 people are injured, and 1,550 people die.
Strategies to reduce drowsy driving include improved technology in the vehicle itself, universities intervening with students prone to drowsy driving, paying attention to medications and their side effects, employers being proactive and people getting more sleep. While these ideas are beneficial to making the roads safer, the reality is that people will continue to drive while drowsy. If an accident was due to drowsy driving, this can be a critical factor in a lawsuit. A law firm experienced in auto accidents can investigate and may be helpful in pursuing compensation.