The National Sleep Foundation commemorates National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week every year in the month of November. This year, as part of the commemorations, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released the results of a new study on drowsy driving. Any Indiana parent would find the results of the study alarming.
According to the study, at least one in every seven motorists between the age of 16 and 24 admits to falling asleep at the wheel at least once over the past year. In comparison, in the general population, one in ten drivers admits to falling asleep at the wheel. This seems to indicate that drowsy driving is an endemic problem among teenagers as well as young adults.
The National Sleep Foundation is not surprised at these findings. Teenagers, as well as young adults, are more likely to suffer from lack of sleep, sleep deprivation, insomnia and a number of other sleep-related issues. This category of adults also seems to have a very low appreciation for the importance of sleep in maintaining good health. Young adults and teenagers also have hectic social lives complicated by addictions to television, the Internet and other pursuits that dramatically impact the amount of sleep that they get.
Not surprisingly, many people in this age group also complain about the quality of the sleep they get each night. Many young adults admit to low levels of satisfaction with their sleep. It is not surprising to find that at least 30% of motorists in the study admit that they have driven when they were so tired that they were barely able to keep their eyes open.
It’s clear that this group of motorists underestimates the risks associated with drowsy driving or driving under the influence of deep fatigue. This is extremely dangerous, because drowsy driving is already one of the most underestimated causes of accidents in the country. No state in the country, with the exception of New Jersey, has any law in place that prevents people from driving when they are in a drowsy state. This means that this problem is underestimated, and that there are very few regulations in place to help educate people about the dangers of drowsy driving.
The National Sleep Foundation has for a while now, been very concerned about the risk of accidents facing people who suffer from sleep deprivation. When you are drowsy, and are barely able to keep your eyes open, you are less likely to identify and recognize accident hazards, even when they appear right in front of you. Your scanning abilities or ability to look out for accident hazards are reduced, and your ability to perform emergency maneuvers to avoid an accident are also substantially lowered.
The Indiana personal injury lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy represent persons who have been injured in automobile accidents across Indiana.