A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that drowsy or fatigued driving is more prevalent than Indiana personal injury lawyers have known. The study, which focused on unhealthy sleep behaviors in the United States, was based on a random telephone survey of adults above 18 years of age. The researchers found that unhealthy sleeping habits abound in the American population. In fact, 35.3% of respondents reported that they got less than seven hours of sleep a night against the recommendations of the National Sleep Foundation.
When it comes to falling asleep at the wheel, approximately 4.7% of respondents reported that they had fallen asleep at the wheel at least once during the previous 30 days. Persons aged above 65 years of age were less likely to report drowsy driving, and persons in the 25-to-34 year age group were the most likely to report dozing off at the wheel. According to the survey, men were also more susceptible to drowsy driving than women. People with jobs were more likely to doze off compared to students and homemakers. These last figures likely comprise people with stressed jobs and those that work in shift-based jobs who are more likely to doze off while driving.
There’s enough research to show that drowsy driving impairs a person’s driving abilities to the same extent as intoxicated driving does. Earlier this year, a study showed that fatigued driving was a factor in as many as one in six fatal accidents in the US. In spite of this, there are few attempts in Indiana to increase awareness about the serious safety risks posed by bleary-eyed drivers. There are also no laws that prohibit driving in a sleepy or fatigued state. Indiana authorities need to wake up to the very real risks from drowsy driving.
In the meantime, lower your risks of an accident by making sure that you have plenty of rest – at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep – before a long drive. Remember, the risk of drowsiness increases if you’re driving all alone for long hours. Take a companion along for the ride, and share driving duties. Use caffeine and loud music to keep fatigue at bay.