Drowsy driving can be compared in its effects to drunk driving. For example, to go without sleep for 20 hours straight will make one act like a person at the legal limit for intoxication: a .08% blood alcohol concentration. Extreme drowsiness can lead to microsleep episodes, which make one involuntarily inattentive for four or five seconds at a time.
The effects of drowsy driving are felt nationwide. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that 328,000 drowsy driving crashes occur each year with 109,000 ending in injury and 6,400 in death. This is three times more than the official numbers reported by police. Drowsy driving crashes largely go unreported since drowsiness can be hard to detect after the fact.
There are ways to reduce the chances of a drowsy driving crash besides getting adequate sleep. Some drivers may resort to installing crash avoidance tech on their vehicles like lane departure warning. Universities and employers may establish programs to encourage safe driving.
When motor vehicle crashes are clearly the result of a drowsy driver’s negligent actions, victims should know that there is the possibility they can be compensated for their medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. In this state, plaintiffs might recover damages as long as they are 51% or less at fault. Having a lawyer to help file the claim and tackle all the settlement negotiations may be a good idea, though.