Have you been driving your car and nodded off? Do you drive home from work and find it hard to keep your eyes open? Have you run out of the road because you were so tired you could not focus? If so, you are not alone. Thousands of Americans admit to drowsy driving each year, and thousands more are injured or killed in drowsy driving accidents throughout the United States.

How Widespread is the Problem?

According to AAA, one-third of drivers admit they had driven when it was difficult to keep their eyes open because they were tired. It is estimated that drowsy driving accounts for 328,000 crashes each year resulting in 109,000 injuries and 6,400 deaths. The CDC reports that 1 in 25 adult drivers admit they fell asleep while driving during the past month. It also states that the following drivers are more likely to drive while drowsy:

  • Commercial drivers
  • Night shift workers or workers that have long shifts
  • Drivers who do not get the recommended amount of sleep
  • People with untreated sleep disorders
  • Drivers who take medications that can make them drowsy

Why Is Drowsy Driving Dangerous?

A study by AAA  found that the risks of drowsy driving were comparable to the risks associated with drunk driving. A recent study shows the risks of drowsy driving. The CDC says that approximately 35 percent of individuals do not get the recommended number of hours of sleep each night. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety evaluated the risk of a crash based on the number of hours of sleep that a driver had within the 24-hour period prior to driving.

When compared to a person who had the recommended seven or more hours of sleep, the crash risk for drivers with six to seven hours of sleep increased by 1.3 times. For drivers with five to six hours, the crash risk increased by 1.9 times. As the number of hours of sleep decreases below five, the risk of a crash significantly increases. A person who sleeps between four to five hours has 4.3 times the crash risk of a person with seven or more hours of sleep. For drivers with less than four hours of sleep, their crash risk increased by 11.5 times.

Because of the dramatic increase in the risk of an accident, combined with evidence that drowsy driving is comparable to drunk driving, drivers must be cautious and think twice when getting behind the wheel when they are tired or drowsy.

Signs and Symptoms of Drowsy Driving

Some of the signs and symptoms of drowsy driving that AAA advises drivers to watch for include:

  • Not being able to keep your head up
  • Having trouble keeping your eyes open or focused
  • Driving from your lane to another lane or running off the side of the road
  • Missing signs and driving past turns
  • Tailgating
  • Frequent yawning, daydreaming, or difficult remembering how far you traveled
  • Being restless or irritable

AAA provides a list of suggestions for how you can avoid drowsy driving on its website. However, the best suggestion is to get the recommended number of hours of sleep each night, especially if you are driving the next day.

Call A New Orleans Drowsy Driving Accident Attorney for Help

If you are injured in a drowsy driving accident, call our office to schedule an appointment with an experienced NoLA drowsy driving accident attorney. Call Attorney Fred Olinde of The Olinde Firm at (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to schedule a free legal consultation with a drowsy driving accident attorney. Learn about your rights and your options for receiving compensation for your injuries.