Ken Harrell, a South Carolina personal injury attorney, says more must be done to prevent car accidents caused by sleepy drivers after study shows more than 4% of motorists admit to falling asleep at the wheel during the previous 30 days.

North Charleston, S.C. – Charleston car accident attorney Ken Harrell today called for an increased focus on efforts to reduce car crashes caused by drowsy drivers after a new study by the Centers for Disease Control revealed an alarming number of drivers admit to having fallen asleep while driving.

“Driving while fatigued is a real impairment and serious threat on South Carolina’s roads,” said Harrell, managing partner of Joye Law Firm, a personal injury law firm with offices in Charleston, Clinton and Myrtle Beach. “More and more research is coming out that shows too many people are getting behind the wheel while too tired to drive safely. Drowsiness is a true impairment, just like driving under the influence of alcohol or while texting. We need to raise awareness of the issue.”

Harrell was referring to a new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that reports 4.2 percent of more than 147,000 respondents said they had fallen asleep while driving at least one time during the previous 30 days.

The reports of falling asleep while driving were more common among adults who said they sleep for six or fewer hours per day and/or snore. The CDC encouraged drivers to seek treatment for sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, symptoms of which include snoring and short sleeping duration.

“This latest report from the CDC is evidence of the prevalence of the dangerous practice of drowsy driving,” Harrell said. “It’s impossible to be a safe driver if you’re drowsy or nodding off. The accidents caused by those who fall asleep at the wheel are completely preventable. It’s simple — if you are too tired, don’t drive. If you think you have a sleep disorder, get examined by a doctor.”

The CDC survey, the largest to study the issue of drowsy driving, also showed that men were more likely to report drowsy driving than women. Younger adults, ages 18 to 44, were also more likely to drive while drowsy than those at or above retirement age. Teenagers under age 18, who have been shown to have a high risk of drowsy driving, were not part of the CDC study.

The CDC survey supplements other research into the topic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy driving causes at least 100,000 crashes each year, resulting in around 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries. These statistics are likely a low estimate, since it can be tough to determine sleepiness as the cause of an accident. Some studies have estimated that between 15 and 33 percent of crashes could involve drowsy drivers.

“These are scary statistics, but regardless of gender or age, everyone needs to stop being willing to endanger themselves and others by driving drowsy,” said Harrell, the South Carolina car accident lawyer. “More must be done to prevent drowsy driving, much like the campaigns designed to prevent distracted driving and drunk driving.”

Harrell urged anyone who has been harmed in an auto accident caused by a drowsy driver to seek legal counsel from a qualified Charleston car crash lawyer such as the ones at Joye Law Firm.

About Joye Law Firm

Since 1968, Joye Law Firm has been fighting to help people throughout South Carolina with their legal challenges in a broad range of practice areas, including personal injury, car accidents, birth injury, brain injury, defective products, drug injury, motorcycle accidents, nursing home abuse, Social Security disability, spinal cord injury, traffic tickets, truck accidents, workers’ compensation and wrongful death. The South Carolina law firm has offices in Charleston and Myrtle Beach and assists clients in areas that include Florence, Richland County, Orangeburg, Columbia, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Summerville and the Horry County communities of Conway and North Myrtle Beach. The firm’s Charleston-area office is located at Northgate Office Building, 5861 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston, SC 29406 (local phone 877-936-9707), and its Myrtle Beach office is located at 8703 Highway 17 Bypass, Unit H, Myrtle Beach, SC 29575 (local phone (843) 215-3100). Contact Joye Law Firm by calling (877) 936-9707 or filling out its online form.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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