Research suggests that drivers severely lacking sleep may be a serious hazard to the road. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study revealing that as many as 7,500 fatal car crashes occur in the U.S. each year involving drowsy driving.
Results of the study are from a 2009-2010 survey conducted by the CDC, where 4.2 percent of respondents reported falling asleep at least once within the previous 30 days. A total of 92,102 adults from 10 states and Puerto Rico were surveyed. The CDC analyzed a number of factors, such as sleep patterns and risky behaviors.
Those most at risk to fall asleep while driving includes people who sleep less than six hours per night, those who snore and people who unintentionally fall asleep during the day. Additionally, drowsy driving was more prevalent in younger drivers, men, those who do not regularly wear a seatbelt, and binge drinkers.
“Falling asleep while driving is clearly dangerous, but drowsiness also impairs the ability to drive safely even if drivers do not fall asleep,” states the CDC report. “Studies have observed that drowsy drivers take longer to react, are less attentive to their environment, and have impaired decision-making skills, all of which can contribute to vehicle crashes.”
Maine Drivers Asleep at the Wheel
Maine was one of the 10 states included in the CDC survey. A total of 3,658 people were surveyed, with 75 reporting that they had fallen asleep at the wheel during the previous 30 days ─ a total of 3.7 percent.
“Sleep-related crashes are more likely to happen at times when drivers are more likely to be sleepy: at night or in the midafternoon,” states the CDC report. “Although these crashes often involve a single vehicle going off the road, sleep-related crashes also are disproportionately represented in rear-end and head-on collisions. Finally, injuries and fatalities are more common in drowsy driving crashes than non-drowsy driving crashes.”
The research team recommends that drivers feeling drowsy should get off the road and get some rest, as it has proven to be the only effective way to combat this issue. Popular myths, such as turning up the air conditioner, playing loud music and opening the window are not effective ways to wake up, according to the research team.
Maine Distracted Driving Accidents
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver, it’s important to know your legal options. Drowsy drivers can be held liable for injuries and losses caused by not paying attention to the road. It’s important to hold them accountable for the damages they’ve caused.
If you think you may need to file a Portland, ME sleepy driver accident lawsuit, the attorneys at Hardy, Wolf & Downing can help. Our seasoned personal injury lawyers have been helping Maine accident victims for more than 35 years. We have collected more than $150 million for our clients. Call 1-800-INJURED today to schedule a risk-free consultation with our Maine car accident lawyers.