We know about drunk drivers. We know about texting drivers. New evidence indicates there may be another group of drivers who cause a considerable number of serious accidents: tired drivers.
Tired Truck Drivers and Catastrophic Crashes
The dangers of fatigued truck drivers are well known. Studies show that driver error is the leading cause of motor vehicle crashes. Truckers who choose to on the road while fatigued are putting others at great risk. That’s why there are federal rules as to how many hours a week over-the-road truckers can drive.
But what about tired car drivers? It turns out they are dangerous as well.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety earlier this month released the findings of its study looking into drowsy car drivers. The study refers to federal estimates that claim about 2 percent of motor vehicle crashes involve a tired driver. This new AAA study shows there actually may be many more accidents caused by drowsy drivers. Lots more.
The research included about 3,600 drivers who were monitored by video cameras over several months. The study’s subjects generally mirrored the make-up of the country’s driving population.
Crashes were recorded and classified as to their severity. When a driver crashed, researchers went back to the minutes just before the wreck. They determined whether or not drivers where tired based on how much time their eyes were closed while behind the wheel. Drivers whose eyes were closed for more than 12 percent of the time just before a crash were deemed “drowsy.”
More Accidents Caused by Drowsy Drivers Than Previously Thought
Based on this methodology, the AAA researchers determined that the drowsy drivers were involved in as many as 9.5 percent of all accidents recorded in the study. However, they were involved in about 11 percent of the accidents classified as among the most severe.
The federal government has estimated that 2.4 percent of fatal motor vehicle crashes involved tired drivers. This newest research indicates those estimates are much too low. A previous AAA study estimated that 16 percent of fatal wrecks involved sleepy drivers and that tired drivers were involved in 13 percent of motor vehicle accidents that resulted in severe injuries.
So, we can add improper sleep to the list of negligent and potentially deadly driving behaviors, along with alcohol, drug and cell phone use.
If you lost a loved one or you were seriously hurt in a crash caused by another driver, consult an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney to pursue your right to just compensation from those responsible.
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Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog March 1, 2018