Drowsy Driving is Dangerous Driving

Jan. 12th, 2015   /   ,

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When people think of the most dangerous thing to do involving a car, it’s safe to say most think of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) – and with good reason. Every year, according to the CDC, which monitors these statistics, over 10,000 people are killed in alcohol-caused car accidents, amounting to roughly 1/3rd of car crash fatalities in the U.S. That number leads to the horrifying fact that, on average, thirty Americans are killed every single day by drunk drivers.

As our personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green know, it’s not simply the alcohol that causes these crashes; it’s the way that the consumption of alcohol (or drugs, as is often the case) affects the human body, on a chemical level. It’s important to remember that there’s another, more infrequently recognized activity that often produces the same effects as being drunk: being tired while behind the wheel.

Being drowsy, just like being inebriated, makes us less able to make quick decisions or process what we see, slower to react to perceived threats, and more likely to delay in taking defensive action (particularly behind the wheel of a car). Being awake for roughly 24 hours is akin to having a BAC of 0.10 – over the legal limit in every state in this country. Although the number is inherently hard to specify, the CDC estimates that between 5,000 and 6,000 car crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers.

As our personal injury lawyers know, Americans take drunk driving seriously, and we have for decades and decades; it’s about time we start to broaden our focus to include recognition of the dangers of drowsy driving. In doing so, we should all be aware of the telltale signs of drowsiness, especially if you’re getting in the car with a driver who you suspect might be drowsy. There’s reason to believe they shouldn’t be driving if you see them yawning or blinking frequently, have difficulty remembering the past few miles they’ve driven, miss the intended exit, drifting from the lane, etc. Bear in mind that if someone has had a small amount of alcohol, their symptoms of their drowsiness will intensified.

While drowsy driving is a widespread problem, there are certain groups of people who are more prone to drowsy driving. These include commercial drivers (who we often see involved in major auto accidents in the wee hours of the night), shift workers (who work the night shift or other long shifts), drivers with untreated sleep disorders (including sleep apnea), drivers who use sedating medications (including benzodiazepines, pain killers, etc.), and drivers who for one reason or another (whether it be school, work, a partying lifestyle, etc.) do not get adequate sleep.

If you have been injured in an auto accident due to the negligence of another, whether that negligence was the result of DUI, distracted driving, drowsiness, etc., and whether you were a passenger in the car of the negligent driver or a rider/driver of another motor vehicle, contact us to schedule a free consultation at no cost or obligation. You can reach us by calling 561-266-9191 or by e-mailing daronberg@aronberglaw.com. We look forward to assisting you.

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