The dangers of drowsy driving

Drowsy driving is a serious problem that can affect any driver on the road, cause increased inattentiveness and reduce reaction time.

It is hard to know how many West Virginia crashes are caused by drowsy driving. This is largely because investigators have to rely on subtle clues or the testimony of witnesses if any are even available.

Nonetheless, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2.6 percent of the fatalities caused by crashes in a single year were recorded as having drowsing driving as a factor. On average, there are 83,000 accidents caused by overtired drivers each year. However, these numbers are typically thought of as being grossly underestimated.

Affects a wide variety of drivers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 1 out of 25 drivers over the age of 18 falls asleep while driving over the course of a 30-day period. There are a variety of factors that can affect the likelihood of someone getting tired while operating a vehicle, including the following:

  • Taking medications that cause drowsiness
  • Missing crucial amounts of sleep
  • Working overnights or shifts
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Suffering from untreated sleeping disorders

Drowsy driving is most serious when mixed with commercial driving. Drivers of large tractor-trailers, for example, are sometimes forced to drive excessive amounts of time in order to make up for scheduling delays. Federal regulations limit the amount of time a commercial driver is supposed to remain on the road between resting. However, there are many documented cases in which the commercial employer and/or the driver themselves circumvented these rules. The consequences of a large commercial vehicle driver falling asleep behind the wheel may obviously be much more devastating than those occurring in a passenger car crash.

Whether a car collision was caused by drowsy driving or another factor, it may be beneficial to work with an attorney who is familiar with the intricacies of motor vehicle accident cases.