Drowsy driving is a major public health issue and a top cause of car accident deaths. In 2009, for example, 730 people died in just one year as a result of car accidents related to driver fatigue. And that includes only those accidents in which fatigue was reported as a contributing cause; the true number is likely much higher.
Unfortunately, newly released data and information indicate that the dangers of drowsy driving may be getting worse as more people suffer from sleep disorders and conditions that could increase the likelihood of falling asleep at the wheel.
Our Boston accident attorneys urge you to take a look at some recently published information about drowsy driving and about the number of people in the U.S. seeking assistance for sleep problems. Drivers who consider this newly released information can be more informed about the dangers of drowsy driving and can hopefully stay safer on the roads because they are aware of the risks of fatigued drivers.
New Data on Drowsy Driving
Both the New York Times and Money News recently published recent articles highlighting the risks.
According to a December 2012 Money News article:
- Estimates indicate that there may be 70 million people in the U.S. facing sleep problems that cause interruptions in sleep cycles or that make sleeping through the night impossible.
- There are record numbers of people seeking assistance for sleep problems. There is so much demand for help with sleep issues that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has just accredited its 2,500th sleep center. The number of centers has doubled in the past decade and there are now more accredited centers operating than at any time since accreditation began in 1977.
- As many as one out of every five auto crashes in the U.S. can be attributed to a sleepy or fatigued driver.
While the new data published in Money News focused primarily on people getting help for sleep disorders, it demonstrates how widespread the problem of drowsy driving is and it also indicates that this problem might be growing worse as more people seem to face sleep challenges nowadays.
The New York Times tells a similar story on the dangers of drowsy driving. The Times published information from a recent survey of 147,000 adults conducted by the Centers for Disease Control. According to the information garnered from the survey’s detailed questionnaire:
- 1.7 percent of elderly drivers (drivers 65 and up) reported falling asleep at the same time as driving in the month prior to answering the survey questions.
- More than 5 percent of drivers in the 18-44 age group answered yes to the same question. They had fallen asleep at least one time in the prior 30 days.
- In total, 4.2 percent of all of the adults surveyed admitted to sleeping at the wheel in the 30 days before they answered the survey.
- Men were more likely than women to be engaged in driving when they were too tired to do so safely.
As both the new information from Money News and the new information from the New York Times show, there are millions of people out on the roads who are driving fatigued and who may be falling asleep at the wheel. Every driver should make a commitment not to be one of those people and every driver needs to look out for drowsy drivers in order to stay safe.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (617) 777-7777.
Fog is a Driving Risk That Can Lead to Accidents, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, December 27, 2012.