According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 1,500 fatalities and another 70,000 injuries. Other statistics show one in six deadly fatal accidents involves a drowsy driver. And although over 96 percent of people say they are totally against allowing someone who is so tired to get behind the wheel of a vehicle, one in ten drivers between the ages of 16 and 45 years old admit to driving drowsy once or twice a week.
The majority of these accidents happen between midnight and 8:00 a.m. Shift workers are more susceptible to drowsy driving since their sleep patterns go against the body’s natural pattern of sleeping and waking. Research also shows that young drivers, particularly young male drivers, have a higher rate of crashes from falling asleep at the wheel.
Just like driving under the influence of alcohol, drowsy driving can cause people to suffer from impaired vision, judgment lapses, delays in reaction times and the ability to process information. A person can slip into a “microsleep” for a few seconds and not even know it. If this happens to a person traveling a 65 mph, they could possibly drive the length of a football field in an “unconscious state.”
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There are warning signs a driver should heed that it is time to pull over and rest. These include:
- Having a hard time keeping eyes focus or opened, frequently blinking;
- Frequently yawning;
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Missing signs or exits;
- Drifting into other lanes, swerving;
- Having a hard time keeping head up; and
- Not remembering the past few miles driven.
Drivers who choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle when they are too tired are just as negligent as a driver who drives after drinking or a person who texts while driving. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver, contact a seasoned North Carolina car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have.
Our Carolinas personal injury lawyers have built a solid reputation for aggressively advocating for our clients in obtaining the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Our legal team is made up of skilled negotiators who have decades of combined injury law experience dealing with insurance companies, yet we also will not hesitate to pursue litigation if the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith.