Lack of Sleep is a Public Safety Issue

Jul. 2nd, 2015   /   ,

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Our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green know that a lack of sleep can be and often is a contributing factor in thousands of car crashes each year. While tiredness is not often discussed as a main culprit behind tragic accidents, sleepiness is in fact a significant factor in otherwise preventable roadway (and even airway) deaths.

Drowsy driving, which can be as dangerous as drunk driving (as we will explain below), occurs more than you might think. As Harvard Medical School reported, according to the National Sleep Foundation, roughly 103 million people have actually fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. With this sad fact in mind, it’s a bit easier to grasp that, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are an estimated 100,000 police reported crashes each year that are the direct result of driver fatigue. By most accounts, including the NHTSA’s, this is a conservative estimate, as not all fatigued drivers actually admit to being or are deemed to be fatigued.

While you might think that your choice to party (or even study) all night only affects you, and that all the associated problems will be fixed by a series of large cups of coffee, our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers know that you would be wrong. When you get behind the wheel without having slept property, you not only risk your own safety but also that of everyone else on the road with you. It’s been demonstrated, time and time again, that driving while tired is akin to driving while drunk; in both instances, people repeatedly demonstrate slowed reaction times, an inability to focus, and poor judgment.

Your drowsy driving is actually a public safety issue. According to a report by CNN, when you’ve gone 20 hours without sleep, you are as dangerous behind the wheel as someone who has a BAC of .08, the legal limit in each state in this country. This comparison isn’t just theoretical; the proof of the danger is in the statistics. As our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers at Aronberg, Aronberg & Green know, although the number is inherently hard to specify, the CDC estimates that between 5,000 and 6,000 fatal car crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers.

Some people are definitely more prone to driving while tired; these include commercial drivers, night shift workers, individuals with untreated sleep disorders (including sleep apnea), drivers who use sedating medications (including benzodiazepines, pain killers, etc.), and drivers who for other reasons don’t get an adequate amount of sleep. According to CNN, some tips for avoiding drowsy driving include recognizing the importance of sleep, getting treatment for sleep disorders, avoiding driving between 2 AM and 6 AM, consuming caffeine before an absolutely necessary nighttime drive, avoiding driving alone during the night, and pulling over to the side of the road if you feel you’re too tired to continue driving.

If you have any questions about this or any other public safety issue, or if you’ve been injured in an auto accident caused by the recklessness of another, please contact our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers at Aronberg, Aronberg & Green to schedule a free consultation by calling 561-266-9191 or by emailing us at daronberg@aronberglaw.com. We look forward to assisting you. 

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