A study conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston evaluated 16 night shift workers’ driving abilities after working all night and after sleeping all night. The results were shocking.
One-third of the workers who worked the night before were involved in near crashes when taking a test drive after work. However, none of the workers had near crashes when they took the test drive after sleeping the night before. The study also found that over one-third of the night shift workers used emergency braking maneuvers when driving after work. Furthermore, the sleep-related impairment was noticed within the first 15 minutes of driving and roughly half of the workers who drove after working had to be stopped because they could not maintain control of the vehicle.
The study’s author, Dr. Charles Czeisler, compared the sleep impairment to being intoxicated. He also noted that the situation became more hazardous the longer the worker had to drive.
Drowsy Driving Accidents
It is believed that drowsy driving accidents resulted in up to 6,000 deaths and 44,000 injuries in 2013. Four percent of the drivers polled report that they have fallen asleep while driving at least once in the past 30 days. Some drivers are at a higher risk of being involved in a drowsy driving accident. The factors that increase your risk of being in a drowsy driving accident include:
- Workers who work at night or who work long shifts
- Drivers who do not get sufficient sleep
- Commercial vehicle drivers
- Anyone taking medication that can make them sleepy or drowsy
- A driver who has an untreated sleep disorder such as sleep apnea
Drowsy driving accidents can result in traumatic injuries and substantial economic damages. In order to reduce your risk of being in a drowsy driving accident, make sure you get plenty of sleep before you must drive and learn the warning signs of drowsy driving:
- Drifting in and out of your lane
- Missing your turns and exits
- Frequent yawning and/or blinking
- Repeatedly hitting the rumble strip on the side of the road
- Not remembering the last few miles
- Trying to stay awake by rolling down the window, drinking something, turning the air conditioner on, or turning up the radio
- Feeling aggressive, irritable, or restless
- Using poor judgment
- Reduced reaction time
If you feel drowsy or sleeping, you need to find a safe place to stop to call someone for help. You should not be driving a vehicle if you are even the least bit drowsy. The potential damage you can do to others and to yourself is too great to risk continuing to drive when you are drowsy.
For more information about preventing drowsy driving accidents, visit the National Sleep Foundation’s website.
Contact a New Orleans Car Accident Attorney
If you are injured by a drowsy driver, you have the right to recover compensation for your injuries. Contact our office to schedule a free legal consultation with a NoLA car accident attorney. We can help you pursue an accident claim against the driver who caused the collision. You should not be required to bear the financial burden placed upon you by a drowsy driver.
Call The Olinde Firm at (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our New Orleans personal injury attorneys. We want to help you seek justice for yourself and for your family.