Drowsy Driving Puts Florida Motorists in Danger
When you don’t get enough sleep, you know that your reflexes slow down and that you may have a hard time paying attention. In some cases, you may even find your eyes closing involuntarily and you may struggle to stay awake and keep your head up. This is a common phenomenon that almost everyone has experienced at some point over the course of their lives. Unfortunately, a surprising number of people find themselves experiencing this fatigue when they are driving. This is extremely dangerous for the drowsy driver as well as for others on the road.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study to get a better idea of how many people are driving drowsy. Our West Palm Beach, FL accident attorneys believe that this study sheds light on an important public health problem. We urge every driver to be aware of the findings and of the risks presented by drowsy drivers and to commit to never driving when fighting fatigue.
The Widespread Dangers of Drowsy Driving
The Centers for Disease Control study was a telephone survey of 147,076 people who live across the United States. Those responding to the survey lived in a total of 19 different states as well as in Washington, D.C. Survey respondents were asked a number of questions about their sleep behavior and about their driving behavior.
The findings indicated that drowsy driving is common, and especially prevalent among certain groups. For example:
- Of all drivers surveyed, 4.2 percent said they had fallen asleep at the wheel in the prior month before answering the survey.
- Men were more likely to fall asleep when driving. 5.3 percent of men said they had fallen asleep when driving in the prior month as compared with only 3.2 percent of females responding to the survey.
- Younger drivers were much more likely to fall asleep when driving as compared with drivers 65 and older. For adults ages 18-44, 4.9 percent said that they had fallen asleep in the month before responding to the survey. Only 1.7 percent of adults 65 and older said that they had fallen asleep. Among retired respondents, only 1 percent said they had dozed off.
The study results also revealed that adults who had sleep problems or insufficient sleep reported drowsy driving more frequently. This makes sense as people who frequently have their sleep interrupted or who are not able to get a full night’s sleep are much more likely to be in danger of falling asleep as they drive.
Unfortunately, for people of all age groups, drowsy driving can significantly increase the chances of becoming involved in a car wreck. Evidence suggests that a failure to get sufficient sleep can cause impairments just as severe as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This means that drowsy drivers, like drunk drivers, are a menace on the roads.
The laws, however, do not impose a widespread ban on drowsy driving. Such a ban would, unfortunately, be very difficult to enforce. Commercial drivers are limited in the number of hours they can drive in an attempt to curb drowsy driving crashes, but other drivers are simply expected to use their common sense, exercise reasonable caution and refrain from getting behind the wheel when they are too tired.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., at (800) 608-2965 for a free and confidential consultation.