Sleepy drivers produce the same dangers as drunk drivers and increase risk of car accidents in Massachusetts and elsewhere just the same. According to Automotive Industry Today, being sleepy behind the wheel slows a driver’s reaction time just the same as if they had been consuming alcohol. These effects cause a driver to lose their ability to react to dangerous hazards on the roadway. Sleepy drivers are not able to process traffic movements as well as a well-rested driver.
The Centre for Sleep Research reports that a driver that has been awake for 18 hours has the same reaction abilities as a person who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05. A driver that has been awake for a full 24 hours has the same reaction time as a driver that has a BAC of 0.10. The legal BAC limit in the state of Massachusetts is a 0.08.
Our Boston car accident attorneys understand how dangerous it can be to jump behind the wheel of a motor vehicle if you’re drowsy. Unfortunately, a lot of drivers do it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about five percent of drivers admit to nodding off behind the wheel at least once within the last month.
Researchers believe that the number of drivers who fall asleep at the wheel is actually much higher. The reason for this theory is because a good number of drivers neglect to inform officers about being drowsy at the time of an accident. Unfortunately, there’s no “Breathalyzer” that can detect a driver’s level of sleepiness.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that in one of its studies about a third of surveyed drivers admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at least one time in the last month. About 15 percent of the surveyed drivers admitted to falling asleep regularly, at least once a month.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 100,000 car accidents happen every year because of sleepy drivers. These accidents kill more than 1,500 people and injury another 71,000 people each year. The result of these accidents is about $12.5 billion in monetary losses each year.
Some studies conclude that drowsy drivers cause at least a fourth of all traffic accidents in the United States.
Fatigued driving is easily prevented with these safety tips:
-Stop if you’re feeling sleepy. Pull over to the side of the road, get out, stretch or take a nap.
-Schedule in some breaks. In addition to planning out the route to your destination, you should plan out rest spots. You’re urged to take a break from driving every 2 to 4 hours.
-Take turns. If you’re on a long road trip with another licensed driver you should take turns behind the wheel. This will allow sufficient resting time for each person to avoid drowsy driving.
-Make sure to get adequate sleep. Before venturing out on a long road trip make sure you’ve gotten plenty of well-rested nights.
-Make sure you’re eating regularly. Deprivation can add to the feeling of drowsiness. Make sure to eat well-balanced meals when on road trips.
It is important to remember that there’s no quick fix for drowsy drivers. Many motorists may believe that rolling down the windows, turning up the music of gulping down some caffeine will help to wake you up. But that’s only a temporary fix and will most likely leave you even more tired that when you started.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Massachusetts, you are urged to contact the car accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.
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