Posted on Friday, November 17th, 2017 at 3:53 am    

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its report on drowsy driving during 2015 last month. Drowsy driving is an extremely dangerous driving condition that has claimed the lives of thousands of people and injured thousands more. The report looks at drowsy driving over a five-year period from 2011 through 2015. Some of the findings in the report include:

  • From 2011 through 2015, 4,121 people died in accidents involving drowsy driving.
  • During the same five-year period, there were 396,000 traffic accidents involving drowsy drivers.
  • Property damage crashes comprised the highest percentage of drowsy driving accidents (232,000) followed by injury accidents (160,000) and fatal accidents (3,662).
  • Except for 2013, the number of drowsy driving accidents increased each year, with 90,000 reported accidents in 2015.
  • Under-reporting of accidents involving drowsy drivers may result in lower numbers than the actual numbers.

While drowsy driving may only compromise a small percentage of the number of total accidents on American roads, even one life lost because of a drowsy driver is one too many. In some cases, understanding why a driver is behind the wheel while drowsy can help us avoid making the same mistake.

Reasons for Drowsy Driving Accidents

There are many reasons why a person might get behind the wheel of a car while fatigued or drowsy. In some cases, a driver is pushed to drive beyond the normal limits by a company who is more interested in profits than safety, such as a truck driver who is given unrealistic deadlines for deliveries. However, some drivers are at a higher risk for drowsy driving for other reasons including:

  • Drivers who take certain medications that can cause drowsiness. Examples of medications that cause drowsiness include sleep aids, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, cold medications, antihistamines, and narcotic pain medications.
  • Untreated sleep disorders can put a driver at a higher risk for a drowsy driving accident. Disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), insomnia, and narcolepsy are a few examples of sleep disorders that can increase your risk of an accident.
  • Third shift or swing shift workers are also at a higher risk for drowsy driving accidents. It can be very difficult to have a regular sleep pattern on a swing shift. Third shift workers may have trouble sleeping during the daytime. Therefore, shift workers can suffer from proof quality of sleep or lack of sleep, making them susceptible to drowsy driving.
  • Drivers who have been drinking alcohol can also be at a higher risk for drowsy driving accidents. The effects of alcohol can significantly lower the driver’s physical and mental alertness, making it easier to fall asleep while driving.

The Signs of Drowsy Driving

If you are behind the wheel of a vehicle, you need to know the signs of drowsy driving so that you can try to avoid a drowsy driving accident:

  • Difficulty keeping your eyes open;
  • Frequent yawning;
  • Trouble remembering the last few miles;
  • Wandering thoughts;
  • Missing turns and road signs;
  • Drifting into other lanes;
  • Running off the road; and,
  • Nodding off and having trouble keeping your head up.

Sacramento Drowsy Driving Accident Attorneys

If a drowsy driver has injured you, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. Call The Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 or visit our website to schedule your free consultation with a Sacramento car accident lawyer. Our law firm serves clients in SacramentoFolsomRoseville, El Dorado Hills and other communities in the greater Sacramento area.

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