According to the National Sleep Foundation, 103 million drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel and 168 million say they’ve driven while drowsy. Of these, 11 million drivers admit they’ve either had a car accident or narrowly avoided one after dozing off behind the wheel. It is estimated that driver fatigue is responsible for about 71,000 injuries, 1,550 fatalities and comes with an annual price tag of about $12.5 billion annually.
With that said, what role sleepiness or driver fatigue plays in car accidents and near misses is difficult to calculate since few drivers attribute hazardous driving to fatigue, and field testing for driver exhaustion has yet to be invented.
In 2008, NSF issued a nine-question survey to all 50 states and Washington D.C. The survey ranked each state according to drowsy driving legal provisions, law enforcement training, sleep-disorder medical and driver restrictions, and public awareness and education efforts. Massachusetts was one of 33 states (Washington D.C. included) to earn a C and Mississippi was the only state to earn a B. The NSF issued 14 states a D grade, and 3 states earned an F.
NSF offers a handful of simple warning signs that indicate a driver is fatigued enough to be dangerous on the road:
~ Frequent blinking paired with heavy eyelids.
~ Realizing you are drifting, hitting rumble strips or suddenly swerving.
~ Missing exits, failing to properly respond at traffic signals and signs, momentary feelings of blackout.
~ Literally nodding off.
~ Blasting the radio or fussing with raising/lowering your windows.
The Boston car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC, understand the financial and emotional difficulty and confusing that often accompany a serious or fatal car accident in Masschusetts. If you have been involved in a serious car crash with a negligent driver, schedule a free initial consultation by contacting us online or calling our offices at 1-877-617-5333.