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What do you need to know about drowsy driving?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four percent of Americans admit that they had fallen asleep while driving, at least once,,in the past month. Additional findings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimate that fatigued driving was responsible for 72,000 car accidents, 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths in 2013. These findings, combined with crash data, prove that drowsy driving is a very real problem in California and throughout the United States, a fact that leads many to wonder why drowsy driving occurs and what can be done to stop it.

Drowsy driving refers to the phenomenon of driving while tired. It usually occurs when a driver does not get enough sleep, suffers with a sleep disorder, takes medication, drinks alcohol or performs shift work. Regardless of the reason for drowsy driving, the effects of it are more or less the same across the board. Drowsiness tends to result in the following:

  •       Inattention
  •       Slow reaction time
  •       Impaired judgment 

Each of the above make it difficult for drivers to operate safely, even if they do not fall asleep behind the wheel. Though anyone can be guilty of drowsy driving, common culprits include commercial truck drivers, drivers with untreated sleep disorders, shift workers and drivers who take medications.

Many agencies, including those that regulate the trucking industry, have taken several measures to reduce the incidence rates of drowsy driving. Despite these efforts, however, drowsy driving accidents continue to occur. To help drivers recognize when they may be at risk of causing a drowsy driving accident, the CDC provides a list of warning signs for drowsy driving. Those include yawning or blinking frequently, missing exits, drifting, trouble recalling the past few miles or hitting rumble strips on the side of the road.   

This content is for informational purposes only. It should not be used as legal advice.  

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