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Ongoing Risk of Drowsy Drivers on Massachusetts Roadways

We’ve all been there — spending hours behind the wheel, wanting nothing more than some shuteye. While most of us make it home safely, there are others who aren’t so lucky.
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According to Yahoo News, there were more than 11,000 people killed in drowsy driving car accidents from 2000 to 2010. It’s a problem that many researchers believe can be solved by tougher laws.

Our Boston car accident lawyers understand that there’s no way to determine if a driver was drowsy at the time of a collision. We have tests for drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs, but drowsy driving is virtually undetectable. Still, many don’t even think the drowsy driving laws are helping. Researchers believe that the laws banning motor coach and commercial truck drivers from spending more than 11 hours a day behind the wheel are flawed because drivers reporters are rely upon the honor system and are too easily falsified.

According to Massachusetts Sen. Richard Moore, there was once legislation considered to ban this dangerous behavior after a constituent’s son was killed in a drowsy driving accident back in 2002. Unfortunately, there was no way to prove drowsiness of a driver. Instead, lawmakers decided to take the proactive approach and educate drivers — hoping that knowledge will help to keep drivers safe and alert behind the wheel.

Although nothing may be more effective in curing drowsy driving tendencies than sleep, officials with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) say that two cups of coffee and a 15- to 20-minute nap may be able to get the job done. While many drivers believe that loud music, getting out of the car and stretching and eating may be the cure — those will do nothing to wake you up behind the wheel.

According to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 5 percent of adult drivers in the country have nodded off or completely fell asleep behind the wheel at least once in the last 30 days.

“For some reason people in our culture think it’s OK to lose sleep and get behind the wheel,” said Mark Rosekind with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Sleepiness can impair driving performance as much or more than alcohol, studies show. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that one out of every six deadly traffic accidents, and one out of eight crashes requiring hospitalization, is due to drowsy driving.

We know it’s dangerous and it’s time to put an end to it.

Before heading out, whether you’re driving a commercial vehicle or your own personal passenger vehicle, it’s important that you get a good night’s sleep. If you start to feel drowsy behind the wheel, pull over and stop. There’s no point in keeping on and risking your life, and the lives of others. Stay safe out there this summer.

If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

More Blog Entries:

NHTSA Focuses on Distractions Caused by In-Car Technology, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, May 2, 2013

15-Passenger Vans a Summer Risk at Churches, Camps, Youth Groups, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, April 24, 2013