Dangers of Fatigued Driving
Fatigued driving has been a problem for as long as we’ve had cars on the road. It has become more prevalent in recent years, however, as people’s schedules have become much busier. Parents are taking kids to multiple sports practices and games, after school activities, working multiple jobs, working overnight jobs and more. Fatigued driving is especially prevalent among commercial truck drivers and others who log numerous hours on the road for work.
Study Finds Fatigued Driving Just as Dangerous as Drunk Driving
A study published by AAA in 2016 found that fatigued driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. The study from the auto group found that drivers who missed anywhere from two to three hours of sleep per day quadruple their risk of being involved in an accident. This statistic is compared to drivers who are able to get at least seven hours of sleep per day.
What makes this issue even scarier is that 41 percent of Americans told AAA that they have fallen asleep or nodded off while behind the wheel at some point during their lifetime. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has called fatigued driving a form of impaired driving. Not getting enough sleep is a form of impairment, because it affects the brain and how motorists can gauge distance and other needed skills when driving.
The NTSB attributes fatigued driving to more than 100,000 accidents across the country every year. At the same time, anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 fatal accidents in the United States can be attributed to driving while drowsy or fatigued. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that once a person is awake for more than 24 hours, a person’s level of fatigue impairment equates to being above the legal limit for alcohol impairment in every state.
Truck Driving Accidents and Fatigued Driving
Fatigued driving does not just affect drivers of cars, vans, and SUVs. Fatigued driving is even more of a problem in the commercial trucking industry. Commercial truck drivers are just as susceptible, if not more, to driving while fatigued. Commercial drivers have to follow hours-of-services rules set forth that limit their time behind the wheel to 11 hours in a 14-hour span. These rules are designed to deter drowsy and fatigued driving. Unfortunately, far too many truckers are under pressure to deliver their loads on time and meet unrealistic deadlines. This forces them to make a choice between following the law and getting the rest they need, or meeting their delivery deadline.
A study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), titled the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), found that 13 percent of commercial vehicle drivers were considered to have been fatigued during a trucking accident. Accidents caused by fatigued truck drivers can be some of the most tragic that occur on Alabama roadways, because of the sheer size and weight of the vehicles involved.
Who is Likely to Drive While Fatigued?
The following people are the most likely to drive while fatigued, according to the CDC:
- Drivers of commercial vehicles
- Drivers who fail to get enough sleep
- Drivers on medicine that cause drowsiness
- Drivers who suffer from diagnosed and undiagnosed sleep disorders
- Shift workers (12-hour or more shifts and the night shift)
How to Avoid Fatigued Driving
There are several ways you can avoid fatigued driving, these include:
- Get enough sleep: If you know you will be driving for the long haul, you need to get at least seven hours of sleep before your trip.
- Eat a healthy diet: Don’t skip meals. Don’t eat fast food. And don’t eat at irregular times of the day or night. Maintaining a healthy diet will help fight fatigue.
- If you are feeling tired, take a nap: The nap should be no less than 10 minutes and should be no more than 45 minutes. Wait 15 minutes after waking up prior to driving.
- Medication: Check your medication before driving. If it causes drowsiness, do not get behind the wheel if you must take it.
- Avoid tricks to stay alert: Avoid tricks to stay awake such as blasting the radio, smoking, opening the window in winter and drinking coffee.
Contact a Seasoned Alabama Personal Injury Attorney Today
Were you or a loved one injured in an autoaccident caused by fatigued driving in the Mobile, Alabama area? If so, you mayhave a right to compensation. Alabama has a high standard of proof forplaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits. For this reason, it’s in your bestinterests to get in contact with a skilled Alabama vehicle accident attorney as soon aspossible. Contact the experienced team at the Law Office of J. Allan Brown, LLCtoday at 251-473-6691 to schedule a free consultation.