While much of the focus lately has been on distracted driving – and texting while driving in particular – a new study demonstrates the very serious consequences of something most people probably do at some point: drive while they are tired.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s Traffic Safety Culture Index estimated 21 percent of fatal accidents involved a drowsy driver. That is up from 16.5 percent found in a 2010 study.
A press release from AAA stated that the data show that drowsy driving is much more prevalent than federal data indicates something safety experts have long suspected.
“This new research further confirms that drowsy driving is a serious traffic safety problem,” Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety,said in a press release. “Unfortunately, drivers often underestimate this risk and overestimate their ability to combat drowsiness behind the wheel.”
Despite so many admitting to fatigued driving, the AAA Foundation study also indicated 95 percent of Americans find it “unacceptable” to drive while drowsy.
AAA is urging drivers to recognize the warning signs of driving while drowsy, including:
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open or focusing.
- Feeling like your head is heavy.
- Drifting out of your lane, including driving onto rumble strips.
- Repeated yawning.
- Missing traffic signs.
- Inability to recall the last few miles driven.
- Getting plenty of sleep before a long drive.
- Taking turns driving.
- Having an alert passenger in the car.
- Taking a break every two hours.
- Avoiding medications that cause drowsiness.
Driving while too drowsy or fatigued may be considered negligence if it leads to an accident. If you have been seriously injured ina crash that was caused by a drowsy driver in South Carolina, it’s important to contact an experienced car accident attorney who can help you through the legal process to secure the compensation you deserve.
- AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety – Prevalence of Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving Drowsy Drivers, United States, 2009 – 2013
- AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety –Drowsy Driving
- AAA – More than One-in-Five Fatal Crashes Involve Drowsy Drivers