Drowsy Driving is Impaired Driving

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Most people associate impaired driving with alcohol or drugs.  Drowsy driving, however, is also a form of impaired driving.  Drowsy driving is not just falling asleep behind the wheel.  Driver alertness, attention, reaction time, judgment and decision-making are all compromised leading to a greater chance of an auto accident.  According to NHTSA’s National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Study (NMVCCS), drowsy drivers involved in a crash are twice as likely to make performance errors as compared to drivers who are not fatigued.

In 2014, the NHTSA reported that there were 846 fatalities due to drowsy drivers.  Although sleepiness can affect all types of auto accidents during the entire day and night, drowsy-driving auto accidents most frequently occur between midnight and 6 a.m., or in the late-afternoon – both times when there are dips in your circadian rhythm (the internal human body clock that regulates sleep).

Facts About Drowsy Driving

  • Over the last decade, more than 7,000 people have been killed in drowsy-driving-related auto accidents.
  • Alcohol can magnify the effects of drowsiness and cause you to fall asleep at the wheel more easily.
  • Use of prescription or over-the-counter medications can also heighten the effects of drowsiness.
  • Who is most at risk?
    • Young male drivers (17-23 years old)
    • People with sleep disorders, i.e., sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, or narcolepsy
    • Shift workers who work at night or who work long or irregular hours
    • People who sleep less than 6 hours per night

Tips to Avoid Drowsy-Driving Auto Accidents

  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is the only true preventative measure against the risks of drowsy driving. Make it a priority to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Avoid drinking any alcohol before driving. Consumption of alcohol interacts with sleepiness to increase drowsiness and impairment.
  • If you take medications that could cause drowsiness as a side effect, use public transportation or ask a friend or relative for a ride.
  • If you must drive during the peak sleepiness periods, stay vigilant for signs of drowsiness, such as crossing over roadway lines or hitting a rumble strip, especially if you’re driving alone.

In the event that you’ve been injured due to an auto accident, you may have grounds for a legal claim for damages. For more information about auto accident representation, contact the Trinity auto accident attorneys of Disparti, Fowkes & Hasanbasic, P.A. today.

Disparti Fowkes & Hasanbasic represents consumers throughout Pasco County and Pinellas County, including residents of Trinity, New Port Richey, Port Richey, Hudson, Zephyrhills, Dade City, San Antonio, St. Petersburg, Seminole, Oldsmar, Treasure Island, Belleair Beach, Clearwater, Dunedin, Safety Harbor, Gulfport, Indian Shores, Pinellas Park, Tarpon Springs, and Largo.


Paul Fowkes, Ryan Hasanbasic

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