Drowsy driving causes more than 300,000 motor vehicle accidents in Connecticut and around the country each year, according to the American Automobile Association. The results of a recent American Academy of Sleep Medicine study suggest that the problem is extremely widespread. A worrying 45% of the 2,000 motorists surveyed said that they had struggled to remain awake behind the wheel at least once. The study was conducted between Sept. 17 and Sept. 20.
Most drivers understand that fatigue causes impairment in much the same way as alcohol, but they choose to take the risks anyway. Drowsy drivers are involved in about 6,400 fatal car accidents every year, and all of these deadly crashes are preventable. Many road safety experts believe that fatigue is an underreported problem and the true drowsy driving death toll could be even higher than government statistics indicate.
One of the reasons drowsy driving is such a persistent problem is that many drivers think drinking a cup of coffee, opening a window or playing loud music will keep them awake. While caffeine can make drivers more alert for short periods, sleep is the only known cure for fatigue. Warning signs of drowsiness that drivers should watch out for include missing turns, highway exits or road signs, drifting between lanes, driving over shoulder rumble strips and not remembering the last few miles covered.
Fatigue-related accidents are so dangerous because they often take place at high speeds and involve drivers who fail to apply their brakes or take evasive action. Road users injured in such crashes often suffer severe injuries that prevent them from working for weeks or even months. When pursuing civil remedies on their behalf, experienced personal injury attorneys may seek damages to cover lost income as well as expenses like property damage, hospital bills and physical therapy costs.