Drowsiness and fatigue may impair people’s ability to safely operate their vehicles, which may result in collisions that cause serious injuries or death.
Most motorists in Central Illinois, and elsewhere, understand the dangers of risky behaviors such as drunk driving and speeding. However, people often overlook the perils of drowsy driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving is involved in an estimated average of 83,000 motor vehicle collisions across the U.S. each year. As a result of such accidents, the drowsy drivers, their passengers or the occupants of the other vehicles involved may suffer serious injuries or death.
What contributes to drowsy driving?
There are numerous factors that may contribute to people driving while they are drowsy or overly fatigued. The NHTSA points out that these may include the following:
- Consuming alcohol
- Using sedative medications
- Not getting adequate sleep
- Having an untreated or unrecognized sleep disorder
Additionally, the time of day that people are on the road, the number of miles they have driven that day and the number of miles that people drive each year may also cause drowsiness for drivers.
Who is at risk for fatigued driving?
Generally, any motorist who is tired or sleep deprived may be in danger of drowsy driving. However, there are certain groups for whom the risk may be greater. The NHTSA points out that young males, between the ages of 17 and 23-years-old, may be more likely to driver while they are drowsy. Additionally, shift workers may also be more prone to fatigued driving. Those with sleep disorders and people who get less than six hours of sleep each night may also have a greater risk of being drowsy drivers.
Why is drowsy driving dangerous?
The dangers of falling asleep while behind the wheel are somewhat obvious. When a driver is asleep, he or she cannot control his or her vehicle. Drowsiness may also impair people’s abilities to safely operate their vehicles. As a result of being overly tired, drivers may be less able to make good decisions and focus on the road, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, drowsiness may slow motorists’ reaction time, which may contribute to causing motor vehicle collisions.
Working with an attorney
When people in Illinois are involved in drowsy driving crashes, they may suffer injuries that require extensive medical treatment. Such care is often accompanied by unexpected expenses, including medical bills and lost income. Depending on the circumstances, however, the drowsy driver may be responsible for these and other damages. Thus, people who have been injured in such accidents may find it of benefit to seek legal guidance. An attorney may help them to understand their rights and their options for pursuing financial justice.