Some people may think they can drive drowsy because they can stay awake even when sleep deprived. But those who haven’t slept enough are still susceptible to lapse into a brief loss of consciousness lasting long enough to cause a crash. That is is just one reason why drowsy drivers are a hazard to themselves and others on the road. Indeed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsiness adversely affects drivers’
Alcohol, too, can affect motorists in these ways. According to some sources, a driver who’s slept only four or five hours instead of the recommended seven poses the same crash risk as one with a blood-alcohol level of .08—the legal limit in New York.
The prevalence of drowsy driving
Pinning down how many crashes are caused by drowsiness is difficult, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every year there are almost 100,000 drowsy driving crashes each year. The number of estimated deaths from drowsy driving in 2021 was 684, according to NHTSA.
According to a 2017 AAA study cited by the NHTSA, more than 40 percent of drivers got fewer than six hours of sleep a night. That’s one hour less than the minimum recommended, and that one hour can apparently make a big difference; drivers who sleep six hours are twice as likely to be in a crash, according to AAA. And drivers with fewer than four hours of sleep? Their odds of being in a crash rise exponentially, making them 11.5 times likelier to wreck.
According to a 2012 AAA factsheet, drowsy driving was a factor in
The AAA factsheet also identifies that
Who’s at risk of drowsy driving?
The truck driver who’d love to get a few more deliveries in to pad the paycheck. The cab driver eager to pick up a few more fares. The businessman putting in 14-hour days because of a major project.
According to the New York State Department of Health, any driver is at risk of drowsy driving, but certain people may be at a higher risk of engaging in the dangerous behavior:
The Department of Health warns to be careful if you catch yourself doing any of these things while driving or see another motorist doing any of them, as they may warn of drowsiness:
Stay alert behind the wheel
The Department of Health has issued guidelines and precautions that may reduce the incidence of drowsy driving accidents. They include, but are not limited to:
Hurt by a drowsy driver? Call William Mattar.
If you’ve been seriously injured by a drowsy driver while driving or walking, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages, but proving a driver caused an accident because of drowsiness can sometimes be difficult. If you’re considering seeking legal assistance, contact the experienced car accident attorneys at William Mattar, P.C. for a free case review by filling out our online form or calling 844-444-4444. Our 24/7 legal team is always ready to help.