Have you ever fallen asleep while driving your car? Chances are, more than four out of 100 drivers would have to answer “Yes.”

That’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in a report released January 4.

Researchers asked 147,076 people in 19 states and the District of Columbia, “During the past 30 days, have you ever nodded off or fallen asleep, even just for a brief moment, while driving?” Of those surveyed, 4.2 percent said they had.

The CDC says driving while sleepy, known as “drowsy driving” or “fatigued driving,” is more common in men, people age 25 to 34, and those who averaged fewer than six hours of sleep each night.

The CDC quotes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as saying drowsy driving contributes to 2.5 percent of fatal motor vehicle crashes nationwide (approximately 730 in 2009) and 2 percent of all crashes with nonfatal injuries (approximately 30,000 in 2009).

In a 2002 report about drowsy driving, the NHTSA says: “Overall, 37 percent of the driving population says they have nodded off for at least a moment or fallen asleep while driving at some time in their life.”

Further, the NHTSA says 10 percent of the study’s respondents reported falling asleep behind the wheel within the prior month. “This amounts to about 4 percent of the driving population, or an estimated 7.5 million drivers, who have nodded off while driving within the past month,” the NHTSA report says.

The CDC says those at increased risk for drowsy driving include:

  • Commercial drivers (long-haul truck drivers)
  • People who work at night or long shifts
  • Drivers with untreated sleep disorders
  • Drivers who use sedating medications
  • Anyone who does not get adequate sleep

Drivers should ensure that they get enough sleep (seven to nine hours a night), seek treatment for sleep disorders, and refrain from drinking alcohol before driving, the CDC says.

Getting behind the wheel while too sleepy or fatigued to drive safely can amount to careless and reckless driving. Drowsy drivers can and should be held accountable for their actions.

The Joye Law Firm, which has offices in Charleston and Myrtle Beach, can assist you if you’ve been hurt in a South Carolina drowsy driving accident. There are ways to demonstrate that a driver may have been asleep at the wheel prior to a car crash. You can reach us at 888-918-4964 or fill out our online form for a free case review.

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.

Recent Blog Post
Image of a woman clutching her neck after a car crash
How Often Do Car Accident Cases Go to Trial?

If you are considering filing a car accident claim, you may wonder if your case will go to trial. Most car accident cases never make it to trial, even if the parties move from an insurance claim to a personal…

Why Can’t I Use My Own Doctor on Workers’ Comp?

Workers’ compensation can help you recover lost wages and pay for causally related medical expenses if you are injured in a workplace accident. Knowing what to do if you suffer an injury on the job is vital to ensuring you…

surgery instruments
Workers’ Comp Settlement After Surgery

It is not unusual for an injury suffered in a job-site accident to require surgery. For most workers employed in South Carolina, the state’s workers’ compensation system should pay for surgery related to any injury suffered in a workplace accident….

3 Ways Trucking Companies Break the Law and Cause Crashes

The trucking industry forms the backbone of America’s freight transportation, with over 38.9 million vehicles moving over 72% of the nation’s freight in 2021. However, statistics compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also reveal accidents involving large…

Awards & Recognition
Media
CBS News
Fox
NBC
ABC