Is It Time to Aggressively Deal with Drowsy Driving?
The Deadly "D's" of Driving
There are many laws and regulations as well as public safety campaigns geared towards reducing the rates of drunk and distracted driving. While it is true that both distracted driving and drunk driving are responsible for a significant number of traffic-related injuries and deaths each year, there is a third "D" – drowsy driving – that can be just as dangerous as drunk distracted driving. However, drowsy driving receives far less attention than the other two behaviors.
Dangers of Drowsy Driving are Similar to Drunk Driving
The lack of attention paid to drowsy driving is alarming, especially considering that many of the risk factors that elevate a drunk driver's likelihood of causing a crash are present when a person drives drowsy as well. These include, among others:
• Impairment in reflexes (i.e., it takes the driver a longer period of time to respond to stimuli);
• Poor judgment and decision-making; and/or
• Impulsivity or failing to think through the consequences of one's actions.
As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains, drowsy driving is more than simply falling asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving encompasses operating a vehicle any time that you are fatigued or tired to such an extent that you cannot devote sufficient attention and care to the tasks associated with driving. NHTSA further estimates that approximately two to three percent of all traffic fatalities in 2014 were due to drowsy driving. On average, about 83,000 traffic crashes each year are caused by a drowsy driver.
What Can Be Done to Reduce the Risks of Drowsy Driving?
Technology such as driverless and semi-autonomous vehicles may (when working properly) reduce the number of drowsy driving incidents, but the technology is not yet available in all cars. Requiring civilian drivers to conform to regulations applicable to commercial drivers (who can only drive for a certain number of hours per day before they must rest) would likely be too burdensome to drivers and too difficult for law enforcement officials to effectively enforce. Therefore, at this time it falls to individual drivers to ensure they get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel. Drivers should also be aware of the behaviors of other motorists: drivers should stay clear of other motorists who appear to be drowsy and are weaving, speeding up and/or slowing down without reason, or driving erratically.
Drowsy driving can affect any motorist across Georgia or in the Southeast. Because of the stresses and demands of the holidays, drivers may be more apt to get behind the wheel during this busy time of year when they are fatigued or have not had enough sleep. If you or a loved one is injured by a driver who is fatigued or who falls asleep at the wheel, contact our Atlanta attorneys at Montlick & Associates to learn about your legal rights and options.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 39 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Accident Claim!
Our law firm has over 39 years of experience in representing car accident victims across Georgia and in the Southeast. Contact us to schedule 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.
Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
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Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333
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