In a study analyzing dash cam videos of more than 700 motor vehicle accidents, researchers claim that drowsy driving is a bigger problem than suspected. Using footage of everyday drivers, researchers confirm that the percentage of crashes involving drowsy drivers is actually eight times higher than current federal estimates.
The study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety examined the faces of drivers leading up to a crash, correlating the percentage of time a driver’s eyes were closed to their level of drowsiness. The researchers determined that 9.5 percent of all crashes and 10.8 percent of crashes resulting in significant property damage involved drowsiness, more than existing federal estimates of just 1 or 2 percent.
Of course, when the camera is not rolling, it is difficult to detect drowsiness following a crash, making drowsy driving one of the most unreported traffic safety issues. However, recent research may help to shine light on the problem, raising awareness among drivers who may be pushing the limits of safety.
The problem, according to the CDC, is that people are just not getting enough sleep before hitting the road. In fact, 35 percent of drivers in the U.S. sleep less than the recommended minimum of seven hours, putting everyone at increased risk. While many acknowledge that drowsy driving is a threat, nearly 30 percent of those surveyed admit to driving drowsy – as in, ‘hard to keep my eyes open’ drowsiness – in the last month.
The results of the survey combined with dash cam data paint a very sobering picture. According to traffic safety analysts, just missing a few hours of sleep can quadruple your risk of a crash, the equivalent to driving drunk, which should serve as a warning to all motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists who cannot be sure if someone is asleep behind the wheel.
Although drivers often try various tactics to stay awake like drinking coffee, loading up on sugar or driving with the windows down, the only remedy is getting more sleep. It is also recommended to travel during regular waking hours, limit heavy meals and to avoid medications that may induce drowsiness. For longer trips, taking lots of breaks, alternating driving duties with a passenger, and perhaps working in a cat nap or two at road stops in addition to a good night’s sleep can make traveling safer.
Impaired driving, distracted driving and drowsy driving are the three leading causes of Iowa car accidents. Sadly, most accidents caused by any of the three are preventable. Help yourself and others get to their destinations safely by adopting a few rules of the road: don’t drink and drive – take advantage of Uber or get a designated driver. Put away the smart phone – check your texts at the next stop. And, get proper rest – no skimping allowed.
Iowa Drowsy Driving Car Accident Lawyer
Contact an Experienced Des Moines Driver Fatigue Personal Injury Attorney
Based in Des Moines, the Iowa personal injury law offices of Marc A. Humphrey handles car accidents statewide. If you or a family member is injured in an Iowa car accident whether due to suspected drowsy driving, driver fatigue or other driving negligence, contact our office for assistance today at 515-331-3510.