According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,179 Americans died as the result of distracted driving in 2014. The total number of traffic deaths have risen more than 10 percent from the first half of 2015 to the first half of 2016. According to AAA, 58 percent of the 963,000 automobile accidents involving teens aged 16-19 in 2013 were linked in some way to distracted driving. Approximately 10 percent of the 2,865 teen driving fatalities in 2013 were also linked to distracted driving.
When most people think of distracted driving, they think of people that are behind the wheel doing their makeup, checking their hair, eating a hamburger or updating their Facebook page about how annoying it is to sit in traffic. However, a lesser-discussed element of distracted driving is driving when you’re tired, or “drowsy driving.” Driving while tired can affect anybody, from 16-year-olds headed to school after staying up too late the night before to professional truck drivers who have stringent schedules to keep that don’t allow for proper resting. But as much as we think it is sufficient enough to guzzle a coffee or open a window to feel a cold breeze, the dangers of driving while drowsy are very real.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that:
- From 2010 to the present day, fatal crashes involving drivers who are tired have risen from 16.5% to 21%.
- A whopping 37% of drivers have reported falling asleep behind the wheel at some point in their driving careers.
- Upwards of 328,000 accidents occur in the U.S. every year involving drowsy drivers.
- Over half of the crashes involving drowsy drivers have occurred due to the driver drifting out of their lanes or off of the road entirely.
What this means is that drowsy driving is not only a risk to the drowsy drivers themselves, but to every motorist around them. Much like drinking and driving, there is not much that a good driver can do to prevent becoming involved in an accident that is caused by another driver’s careless decision.
Now that winter is looming and the days are getting shorter, drowsy driving incidents are expected to be on the rise. More alarming is that teenagers, the same ones involved in more distracted driving incidents than any other demographic of driver, are out in full force due to school and sports and only get an average of 6.5 hours of sleep every night, when it is recommended they get closer to nine hours. All of this indicated that everyone must be more vigilant on the roads.
Protect yourself and your loved ones
If you are the parent of a teenager, you must have conversations about drowsy driving. If a teenager is obviously still half-asleep when they head out the door to go to school, they’re not going to magically snap out of it once they get in the car, especially in the winter months when cars are pumped full of sleep-inducing heat. If their safety is ever in doubt, offer to drive them or have them take the bus. If you or anybody in your family has been injured by a drowsy driver, you have a legal right to seek compensation for their careless decision that resulted in the pain and suffering of yourself or a loved one. At Altman & Altman LLP, we have over 40 years of experience seeking settlements from negligent drivers and taking responsible parties to court whenever necessary.
We take a measured and knowledgeable approach to every case that we take on, and we can personally guarantee that we will never stop fighting and working hard for your benefit. Call us for a free consultation today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7.