In the media, there's often a lot of talk about drunk driving. While intoxicated drivers claim thousands of lives across the United States each year, drowsy motorists are becoming increasingly dangerous.
In 2013, 72,000 accidents, 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths were attributed to drowsy driving in 2013, according to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA said these numbers are just estimates and it is possible that roughly 6,000 fatalities occur every year due to drowsy driving in the U.S.
NHTSA researchers were able to determine that drowsy driving accidents most often happen either later in the afternoon, on a individual's commute home from work, or starting at midnight on up through 6 a.m. This is the time frame during which the human body is programmed to want to sleep.
Crash statistics also revealed that most drowsy driving accidents involve just one motorist as the sole occupant of the vehicle involved in the crash.
These types of crashes often happen on highways or in rural areas. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that investigations into suspected drowsy driver crashes often reveal that motorists were driving in excess of the posted speed limit prior to their crash. They often run off the roads as well.
Many drowsy motorists seem to think that consuming caffeinated drinks like energy ones or coffee can help them power through their fatigue. Researchers warn that drinking these types of beverages only has short-term effects, though.
They note that what is most dangerous of all are the brief periods in which motorists lose consciousness for even five seconds while out on the highway. During these instances, a motorist may travel as far as 100 yards, provided they were traveling 55 miles per hour when they initially dozed off.
The NHTSA warns that a motorist pulling over at a rest stop to take a nap lasting 20 minutes or longer can provide more lasting effects for a fatigued driver than a caffeinated beverage ever will.
Drowsy drivers have been known to cause accidents just as potentially deadly as drunk drivers have. If you've been seriously injured at the hands of a suspected fatigued driver, then a Houston attorney can advise you of your rights to recover medical expenses you've amassed, as well as other damages.