When drivers in Georgia and around the country were polled by the National Sleep Foundation, a worrying one in five of them admitted to falling asleep while behind the wheel at least once during the prior 12 months. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigued drivers cause about 100,000 accidents each year in the United States that kill 1,550 road users and leave a further 71,000 severely injured. The Governors Highway Safety Association has released even more sobering figures that put the drowsy driving death toll at approximately 5,000 in 2015 alone.
Traditional drowsy driving remedies do not work
Several studies have shown that drivers understand the dangers of remaining behind the wheel while dangerously fatigued, but they seem to forget the risks when they are tired and wish to complete their journeys. Road safety experts say drivers ignore the perils of drowsy driving because they believe that simply opening a window or drinking a cup of coffee can combat fatigue. Officials have responded by launching public awareness campaigns that debunk such myths, but these efforts have been largely unsuccessful.
Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving
This state of affairs has left law enforcement, advocacy groups and government officials frustrated and perplexed because the problem is an extremely serious one. Fatigue slows down reaction times and hampers thinking in much the same way alcohol does. Going without sleep for 20 hours impairs drivers as much as having a blood alcohol concentration of .08% would, which is why fatigued drivers are about three times more likely to crash according to the National Safety Council. Sleep experts say that the only proven remedy for drowsiness is rest and the only way to protect innocent road users is to pull over.
Holding fatigued drivers responsible for their reckless behavior
Fatigued drivers often fail to apply their brakes or take other forms of evasive action, which is why the accidents they cause often occur at highway speeds and cause catastrophic injuries. If you have been injured in such a crash, a personal injury attorney with experience in car accident lawsuits could pursue civil remedies on your behalf. An attorney could file a lawsuit against the negligent driver who inured you that seeks compensation for your medical bills, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering.