CDC: Drowsy driving causing car accidents

On behalf of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC posted in Brain Injury on Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Here’s a statistic that could keep Chicagoans awake at night: one out of every 24 American adult drivers admits to falling asleep while driving. The news gets worse, unfortunately, because they say they have dozed while driving recently.

Experts say it’s likely that even more than one out of 24 has fallen asleep while behind the wheel, because many people don’t even realize when they dropped off to sleep for just a moment or two. All it takes to cause a car accident is just that brief bit of sleep while behind the wheel, of course.

The lead author of the study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the results make her worry about other drivers.

Too many Americans are simply not getting enough sleep, experts say. Those likely to be drowsy behind the wheel include those behind the wheels of the biggest vehicles on the roads: commercial drivers.

Others are people who work the night shift, drivers who use sedating medications, people with untreated sleep disorders and those who just don’t get at least six hours of sleep per night.

The CDC says warning signs of drowsy driving include the following:

  • Frequent yawning or blinking
  • Difficulty recalling the last mile or two just driven
  • Missing a turn or an exit on a freeway
  • Lane drift
  • Driving over a rumble strip

The government says the results of the CDC study and previous research indicates that about three percent of fatal traffic accidents involve drowsy drivers. Others have pegged the number much higher: up to one-third of all fatal crashes involve drowsy drivers according to some researchers.

Anyone injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver should discuss their legal options with an attorney experienced in getting full and fair compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.

Source: Peoria Journal Star, “CDC: 1 in 24 admit nodding off while driving,” Mike Stobbe, Jan. 3, 2013