Drowsy Driving Prevention: Stay Alert & Remain Alive
Personal Injury Attorney | Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is Nov. 1-8, 2015. Below are some facts that you need to know to stay aware of the dangers of drowsy driving.
Citing data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), DrowsyDriving.org reports that there are 100,000 police-reported drowsy driving crashes every year throughout the United States. In Florida, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported that in 2014, there were 14 traffic fatalities in the state due to drowsy driving.
Even when an accident caused by driver fatigue does not result in fatalities, injuries can still be severe – traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and more can all be debilitating. If you have been in an accident in the Tampa area caused by the negligence of a drowsy driver, make sure you reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to learn more about how to recover damages.
Who Is Most at Risk for Drowsy Driving?
Drowsy driving can happen to anyone, but is especially common among truck drivers and young drivers. Specifically, truck drivers may be at an increased risk of fatigue — which can lead to a tragic accident — when federal hours of service regulations are violated. In a study, summarized by The New York Times, truck driver fatigue was cited as a contributing factor in accidents 31 percent of the time. At least 15 percent of all heavy truck crashes involve truck driver fatigue.
But truck drivers are not the only ones who fall victim to drowsy driving. Anyone who is sleep-deprived and attempts to operate a motor vehicle may be at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. In fact, statistics show that 1 out of 10 drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel. In some cases, the use of prescription, over-the-counter, or illicit drugs or substances may also contribute to drowsiness while driving. In many of these instances, the affected person may be unaware of the side effect of drowsiness associated with taking the substance.
Other at-risk-specific groups include young people under the age of 25 (particularly males – 55 percent of drowsy driving crashes are caused by persons under age 25), persons who work graveyard shifts or work long hours, people with certain health conditions or sleep disorders (such as sleep apnea), and business travelers who experience jet lag from switching time zones.
Know the Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving
Knowing the warning signs of drowsy driving is an important part of being able to combat sleep-deprived driving and staying safe. The warning signs of driving while drowsy include:
- Trouble focusing
- Frequently blinking
- Heavy eyelids
- Short-term memory failure (i.e. not remembering the last few miles driven)
- Missing turns, exits, etc.
- Repeated yawning
- Feeling restless
- Delayed reaction time
- Decreased driving performance
- Difficulty keeping your head up or eyes open
If you are ever in a situation where you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms above, it is essential that you pull over to a safe area off the road and rest. Sleep until you feel well rested. Do not attempt to begin driving again while you are still fatigued.
Drowsy Driving Prevention Tips
If you are feeling drowsy, there are countermeasures that you can take early on to protect both yourself and others on the road. In addition to ensuring that you get enough sleep — between seven and nine hours per night — be sure to also:
- Plan your driving route in advance, and schedule plenty of breaks for food, rest, or walking around and stretching your legs.
- Bring a friend or travel companion along for the ride, which will give you someone to talk to and help you stay awake.
- Avoid any alcohol or substances that could contribute to drowsiness.
- Stop driving or switch drivers if you feel tired.
Before even getting behind the wheel, take the pledge against drowsy driving. Not only does taking the pledge help you make a commitment to yourself that you will not get behind the wheel when feeling sleepy, but it also helps to raise awareness about drowsy driving and its dangers.
The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
The dangers of driving while drowsy are clear. Drowsy driving is the cause of hundreds of thousands of preventable accidents each year. Sadly, many of these accidents have tragic outcomes. A car crash caused by drowsy driving can lead to a wide array of injuries and ailments, some of which can be life threatening or permanently disabling, affecting a person’s ability to care for him or herself, make a living, and more. When you choose to drive while drowsy, you are making a choice to put your life — and the lives of others — at a serious risk of catastrophic, and even fatal, injuries.
Reach Out to a Legal Professional if You Have Been Injured
Sleep-deprived driving impacts the lives of hundreds of people every year. When a drowsy driver harms another person, that person may incur high medical bills, be unable to return to work, and lose quality of life. For these individuals, a recovery may be available through a civil action.
According to Florida law, an injured victim has only has a limited amount of time to file with a personal injury attorney for damages and some insurance benefits may be lost if the victim does not obtain medical treatment within 14 days of the crash. Due to this time limit, you must act quickly. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you today. – Pajcic
The employment discrimination lawyers at Printy Law Firm can inform you of legal options you may not know you have. If you or a loved one has experienced an injury or wrongful death due to someone else’s negligence, contact The Personal Injury Department at Printy Law Firm.
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