Busy Lives and Prescription Drugs Can Promote Sleep Deprivation Accidents in Georgia


January 04, 2014

While the dangers posed by cell phone use and drunk drivers recently has garnered significant media attention, motorists who are driving a motor vehicle with limited sleep may pose a risk that deserves a comparable amount of focus by traffic safety regulators. While it can be difficult to ascertain the precise number of accidents and injuries caused by drowsy driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that at least 2.5 percent of all traffic-related fatalities and approximately 2 percent of injuries suffered in car accidents are a product of overly tired drivers.

While the greatest risk is posed by drivers that actually fall asleep behind the wheel, drivers who remain awake but experience severe fatigued also pose a serious risk to pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicle occupants. There are many situations that lead to vehicles being driven by overly tired drivers in Georgia, but some of these that are considered to cause a fair number of fatal collisions include:

• Commercial drivers operating tractor-trailers who disregard hours of service rules
• Drivers with unmanaged sleeping disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia and narcolepsy
• Employees working graveyard shifts, double shifts and other unconventional work schedules
• Motorists who take medications like pain pills, cold medications, tranquilizers, insomnia drugs and antihistamines
• Drivers who do not get enough sleep at night

When motorists take to the roadways of Georgia when they are sleepy, their driving ability may be adversely impacted in a variety of ways, such as:

• Drivers may experience sluggish reaction time when braking or steering.
• Perception, judgment and decision-making may be impaired.
• Motorists may experience difficulty concentrating and be easily distracted.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests a number of guidelines to reduce the risk of drowsy driving crashes. According to the CDC, studies show that adult drivers need a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep while teens need 9 to 10 hours of sleep to avoid having their driving affected by exhaustion and lack of sleep. The CDC also recommends that motorists abstain from driving after taking medications that tend to promote drowsiness. When motorists must take drugs like allergy or pain medication, drivers may wish to inquire with their doctor about alternative medications that will not induce drowsiness. If a driver suffers from a sleep-related disorder like sleep apnea, there are treatment options that can allow those afflicted with such conditions to get a better night of sleep and mitigate the risk of car crashes resulting from sleep deprivation.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years Experience to Work For You!

If you or your loved one has been involved in a collision caused by a fatigued truck driver or drowsy motorist, our Georgia auto accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.