Drowsy driving is a much bigger problem than you might think

Drowsy driving is a much bigger problem than you might think

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

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