There have been active campaigns to end drunk driving for decades. Distracted
driving is another frequent target, with the majority of states enacting
bans on texting and some states (including California) banning the use
of handheld cellphones. But there is another problem that is as dangerous
and as common as both distracted and drunk driving, yet which receives
considerably less attention: drowsy driving.
To be sure, the issue of drowsy driving has been receiving a lot more attention
this summer after the truck accident that nearly killed comedian Tracy
Morgan. The truck driver who struck Morgan’s limousine had allegedly
been awake for 24 hours prior to the crash. Even two months after that
accident, however, the news media is beginning to move on.
Drowsy driving – sometimes called fatigued driving – is a major
problem in the trucking industry. Commercial truck drivers put in long
hours behind the wheel and often keep schedules that have them driving
at all times of day and night. Many truckers forego sleep to make delivery
deadlines while others simply get very poor sleep because they don’t
have a regular circadian rhythm.
But drowsy driving is also a major problem among regular motorists. A recent
survey by the website CarInsurance.com found that approximately 70 percent
of drivers surveyed admitted that they have driven while drowsy. A separate
study conducted last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
found that one in 24 adult drivers said they had fallen asleep at the
wheel in the previous 30 days.
One in eight highway fatalities is attributed to drowsy driving, according
to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Many of these accidents are
caused by truck drivers, but not all. If you have a family member or loved
one who was killed by a drowsy or fatigued driver, please share your story
with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Source: NBC News, “
Asleep at the Wheel? Survey Says Majority Admit Driving Drowsy,” Aug. 4, 2014