Ways Motorists Can Reduce the Risk of Auto Accidents Caused by Sleep Deprivation
While the danger posed by cell phone use and drunk drivers have grabbed more headlines recently, drivers who are operating 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 fatigued drivers.
While the greatest risk is posed by drivers that actually fall asleep behind the wheel, drivers who remain awake but 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 Atlanta, but some of those considered to cause a fair number of fatal collisions include:
- Commercial drivers operating tractor-trailers who disregard hours or service rules
- Drivers with unmanaged sleeping disorders such as 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 difficult concentrating so they are more 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 fatigue and drowsiness. The CDC also recommends avoiding driving after taking medications that tend to make you sleepy. If you must take drugs like allergy or pain medication, you should inquire with your 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 lack of sleep.
If you have been injured by a negligent driver in a Atlanta auto accident, it is important to act quickly if you believe someone else is responsible for causing the accident. Our attorneys can examine the facts and circumstances of what happened and advise you on the necessary steps to protect your rights.
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With more than 36 years of experience, Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law continues to provide superior legal representation to injured individuals from all across Georgia.
If you would like to discuss your situation with one of our Georgia Car Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys, contact Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law today by calling (800) LAW-NEED (529-6333) to schedule your free consultation. You may also visit us online at www.montlick.com to complete a Free Case Evaluation Form, and you may also participate in a 24-hour Live Online Chat.
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