Nodding Off Can Be Fatal

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More than 11,000 deaths were attributed to drowsy driving from 2000 to 2010, according to federal statistics. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 4 percent of U.S. adults nodded off or fell asleep at least once while driving in the previous month.

Experts say the problem can’t be solved in the blink of an eye. Passing new laws may not work, because proving sleepiness while driving would be difficult if not impossible, the Associated Press points out in a recent report about the issue. Alcohol or illegal drugs can be detected in a driver’s blood, but quantifying drowsy driving is not easy. Even texting while driving can be proven more readily than drowsy driving.

Lawmakers have passed well-intentioned legislation, such as banning commercial truck and motor coach operators from driving more than 11 hours a day and requiring 10 hours between shifts. The problem with these laws is that they often ask operators to indict themselves by reporting the hours they drive, the AP reports. Without accurate records, it is difficult for authorities to designate blame.

Coffee and Nap

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says while sleep is the best cure, drinking two cups of coffee, followed by a 15- to 20-minute nap, can refresh some drivers for a short period of time. On the other hand, turning up the radio volume, singing loudly, chewing gum or eating, and getting out of the car and running around are not effective.

For the time being, there doesn’t appear to be a way to regulate against sleepy driving. Nodding off at the wheel – no matter how briefly – may be common, but it is dangerous. Our South Carolina car accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm implore motorists to get plenty of rest and not drive when tired. It can save your life and that of someone else.

If you or a loved one has been harmed in a crash involving a drowsy driver, contact the Joye Law Firm for an explanation of your legal options.