California motorists are most likely aware of the dangers of driving while drowsy. A new study demonstrates just how prevalent the problem is, and the results are alarming.
The study, conducted by AAA, shows that approximately two out of every five drivers reported they have nodded off or fallen asleep behind the wheel at least one time. The administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that between 5,000 and 7,000 people are killed in the United States every year due to drowsy drivers.
Between 2001 and 2012, crash data revealed that fatigued driving was a contributing factor in approximately 39.5 percent of the major highway investigations conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board. A 2010 AAA study found that in 16.5 percent of fatal crashes, drowsy driving was a factor. People between the ages of 19 and 24 show the biggest problem with driving while drowsy. In the recent AAA study, 39.6 percent of drivers in that age group admitted driving while having trouble staying awake at least once in the previous month. Overall, during that same period, 31.2 percent of drivers reported they were suffering from sleep deprivation.
When a drowsy or fatigued driver causes a car crash, both the driver and others involved in the accident are at risk of serious injury or even death. Drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road to pull over when they feel fatigued. When a driver persists in driving despite being tired and causes an accident, injured victims may want to obtain the assistance of a personal injury attorney in seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other applicable losses.