A National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s study says that tired drivers are as unsafe as drunk drivers, and are causing more auto accidents resulting in personal injuries. The panel looked at driver fatigue and sleepiness and their role in auto accidents.
According to MSNBC, the majority of the accident information in the study was based on police reports and self-reports of the driver after the car crash. Consuming caffeine and taking naps were two behavioral changes an automobile driver can make for a “quick fix” to a drowsiness problem, although altering overall sleep patterns and lifestyle changes are also suggested as a more permanant solution.
The problem is simple, “sleepiness leads to crashes because it impairs elements of human performance that are critical to safe driving.” The report notes three main impairments that lead to the majority of sleep-related car accidents resulting in personal injuries: slower reaction time, reduced vigilance, and deficits in information processing.
Whether a combination, or a single factor, tired automobile drivers are as dangerous as drunk drivers. Like drunk driving, the study also found the vast majority of accidents (the majority of which were serious car crashes resulting in personal injuries and death) occur after midnight. When sleepiness interacts with alcohol, the drowsiness and impairment of the driver increases dramatically and, in turn, the chances of a car crash.
Although any driver may succumb to sleepiness at the wheel, males between the ages of 16 and 29 have the highest car accident percentage, second to shift workers with irregular work hours. Whether tired or a drunk driver, operating a motor vehicle when your mind and body are in less than perfect condition is always a bad idea, and always avoidable. The board has issued 138 driver fatigue-related safety recommendations and hopes that a public campaign against the problem will help bring awareness and, in turn, reduce the amount of accidents resulting in death in an auto accident or serious bodily injury from an auto accident.
If you have been in a car wreck caused by a tired driver, contact Philadelphia injury attorney Jeffrey Harlan Penneys, Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer at 1-800injury-law.