Every year in the United States, accidental injuries are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 44. One of the most common sources for these unintentional injuries is a car accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 34,000 people die in the U.S. every year in car accidents.
Now, AAA is saying that drivers who miss out on a good night’s sleep significantly increase the risk of getting into a car accident.
Drowsy Drivers Cause More Car Crashes
In the past, the driving advocacy group AAA had studied the impact of driving after a bad night’s sleep. These studies had discovered that 7% of car accidents, and 21% of fatal crashes, involved drivers who were tired. However, the organization never delved into how sleep deprived you had to be to make driving more dangerous.
A new study by AAA, released just yesterday, on December 6, focused on just this issue. AAA’s new study looked at car accidents that happened between mid-July, 2005, and the end of December, 2007, were included in a survey by the United States Department of Transportation. Importantly, this survey noted how much the drivers in the crash had slept before the accident.
AAA’s investigation found that people who didn’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep were more likely to get into car accidents. The less sleep drivers got, the more likely they were to be involved in a car crash:
Hours of sleep missed
Increase in crash rates above rested driver
Up to 1 hour
More than 3 hours
Driver Fatigue Can Be More Dangerous Than Drunk Driving
If the study’s results are true, then driving after less than five hours of sleep quadruples the risk of being in a car accident. This is the same risk that drivers face when they are under the influence of alcohol, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Nevertheless, nearly one in three of the drivers surveyed by AAA admitted to driving at least once in the past month when they were so tired that they had trouble keeping their eyes open.
St. Joseph Car Accident Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
Safe driving habits do not only happen while you’re behind the wheel. AAA’s new study shows that getting enough sleep beforehand can drastically improve your driving awareness and minimize the risk of a serious car accident.
However, just because you are a safe driver does not mean that everyone else is, too. Other drowsy drivers can cause accidents that you can’t avoid, which can seriously hurt you and anyone else in your car.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in the St. Joseph area, you need to reach out to the car accident and personal injury attorneys at the Smith Law Office. By legally representing you both in and out of court, we can fight for your rights and interests and ensure you get the compensation you deserve from the people responsible for your injuries. Contact the Smith Law Office online or at (816) 875-9373.