You are a safe driver, and you are proud of that. Unfortunately, no amount of defensive driving can protect you from those who do not take their responsibility behind the wheel as seriously as you do. Many Pennsylvania drivers may not even realize they are putting others in danger when they get behind the wheel while tired, but drowsy driving is a real and dangerous problem.
If a fatigued driver recently hit you, you understand just how devastating these injuries can be. You might have missed work and racked up significant medical bills along the way. Unfortunately, you are not alone in this journey. Here are a few facts about the dangers and prevalence of drowsy driving.
Drivers are sleepier than you think
Data from the American Sleep Foundation indicates that about half of all drivers in America admit to routinely getting behind the wheel while drowsy. Approximately 20 percent of drivers admit to having fallen asleep while driving at least once over the course of the past year. A total of 40 percent say it has happened at least once. These self-reported statistics might even reflect a slightly below average representation of drowsy driving in the United States.
Some drivers do not even realize that they are experiencing fatigue. This is because the signs can sometimes be difficult to recognize or might manifest in micro-sleep, defined as brief, involuntary bursts of inattention.
Drowsy driving is deadly driving
Driving while tired might be just as dangerous as driving after throwing back a few beers. Many aspects of fatigue mimic those of intoxication, such as:
- Delayed reaction times
- Inability to focus
- Increased likelihood of causing an accident
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports a definitive link between 100,000 accidents and fatigue every year. Of these, there are approximately 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities. However, experts believe that the real number of related accidents, injuries and fatalities are much higher because it is difficult to determine when drivers are experiencing fatigue. An estimate from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety puts the real number closer to 328,000 annually.
You are not alone
Despite new technology aimed at keeping drivers alert to their surroundings on the road, drowsy drivers continue to put you and everyone else at serious risk for injury or even death. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be changing at any point in the near future.
It is possible to seek legal recourse after a drowsy driving accident, which may include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and both mental and physical pain and suffering. However, Pennsylvania law is complicated, and navigating a personal injury suit can be overwhelming. To better focus on their recoveries, some injury victims work alongside an experienced attorney when seeking compensation.