Lack of sleep has become a substantial problem for Americans, and sleep deprivation is having consequences for road safety. Governors’ Highway Safety Association has published a troubling new report on the driving safety concerns that are arising because there are so many fatigued Americans.
Those who are drowsy behind the wheel have a responsibility not to endanger others. If a motorists falls asleep at the wheel and causes a collision or otherwise causes a crash as a result of fatigue, accident victims have legal rights. An Atlanta drowsy driving accident lawyer can provide invaluable help to victims of a collision caused by driver fatigue.
New Report Highlights The Risk of Atlanta Drowsy Driving Accidents
The GHSA’s new report pointed out that approximately 83.6 million Americans who are sleep deprived are driving their cars every day on U.S. roads. With so many drowsy drivers, it should come as no surprise that an estimated 5,000 people were killed in drowsy driving accidents just last year alone.
Drowsy driving can occur among any motorists; however, there are certain demographic groups who are at greater risk of involvement with a drowsy driving accident. For example, teens and young adults play a role in more than 50 percent of drowsy driving crashes which occur annually in the United States. Those who work at night, people who work long shifts, and people who work irregular shifts are also at elevated risk of drowsy driving crashes, as are individuals who have a sleep disorder.
The data on drowsy driving crashes may actually be underestimating the scope of the problem. Estimates of the percentage of traffic deaths caused by drowsy drivers range from two percent of all fatalities to 20 percent of all fatalities, which is a substantial discrepancy. Safety experts indicate that it is difficult to collect accurate data because law enforcement officers lack the training to identify drowsy driving correctly, and because many people who are involved in accidents are afraid to tell the truth about whether fatigue played a role in causing an accident.
While the exact number of deaths is not known, it is clear there are thousands of people dying yearly as a direct result of fatigued driving. Because there are so many fatalities resulting from drowsy driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has actually altered its definition of “impaired driving.” Impaired driving is now defined to include not just drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs, but also driving while affected by fatigue.
Drivers who are fatigued need to recognize the risks of driving while sleep deprived and need to discontinue driving when they are not able to do so safely because they are too tired. When a driver is fatigued and makes the dangerous choice to continue driving, the motorist needs to be held accountable for losses. An attorney can provide assistance to victims and their families after a deadly accident has occurred.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent victims after a collision. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.