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Drowsy Driving Causes More Car Accidents and Injuries Than Previously Thought

As Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers, we are always on the watch for news which our clients and friends can use to help prevent deadly Florida car accidents. Along those lines, a recent report demonstrates that drowsy driving, where drivers are too tired to safely drive a car or truck, is more widespread than previous studies assumed.

A recent study by the AAA shows that sleepy motorist are to blame for nearly ten percent of all car accidents.  “Drowsy driving is a bigger traffic safety issue than federal estimates show,” said David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Drivers who don’t get enough sleep are putting everyone on the road at risk.” Plantation personal injury lawyer Joseph Lipsky could not agree more.

The AAA formulated their results after they studied nearly 4,000 drivers over a number of months. Through the use of dashboard cameras and other monitoring devices, the scientist followed motorists over a nearly three year period. The results of the study showed the driver being followed were involved in more than 700 car accidents. Drowsy driving was a contributing factor in almost ten percent of those car and truck accidents. And of those nearly 700 crashes, more than ten percent resulted in significant property damage or personal injury. Those results were much greater than the Department of Highway Safety Administration’s estimates that only 1-2 percent of car accidents involved a drowsy driver.

Incredibly nearly 30 percent of motorist admitted to driving while having a difficult time keeping their eyes open. Interestingly, men and women were equally guilty of the dangerous behavior of drowsy driving, with almost 70 percent of drowsy driving related car accidents occurring during the day, which is counter intuitive to most people’s beliefs that drowsy driving only happens during the evening. Safety advocates have largely ignored the dangerous problems associated with drowsy driving, concentrating instead on the dangers of eliminating distracted driving.

Because of the dangers, particularly with sleep deprived truck driver, some commercial trucking companies have started using in-cabin cameras which monitor drivers’ eyes and track nodding heads. When the system determines a driver may be falling asleep, a warning alarm sounds and the operator’s seat vibrates. Seeing the lifesaving benefits of this technology, GM has begun using it in their driver-assist system, including the one in their 2018 Cadillac CT6.

We agree with the AAA desire to increase public knowledge of the dangers of drowsy driving. As the AAA’s director of traffic safety said “missing just two to three hours of sleep can more than quadruple your risk for a crash, which is the equivalent of driving drunk.” We hope drivers understand the risks and dangers they pose when they get behind the wheel when they are tired.

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