New Study Highlights the Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Photo of auto accident involving two cars

A new study published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety argues that drowsy driving is a major cause of car accidents in the US. According to AAA, the number of car accidents caused by drowsy drivers is underreported by federal agencies. Government statistics claim 1 to 2 percent of car accidents are caused by drowsy driving. AAA claims drowsy driving may account for 8.8 to 9.5 percent of car accidents. In addition, AAA argued that 10.6 to 10.8 percent of crashes involving property damage, airbag deployment or injuries are caused by drowsy drivers.

The 3,500 study participants agreed to be recorded with cameras during a 7-month period. AAA measured drowsiness by analyzing the percentage of time participant’s eyes were closed. During the study, AAA record several instances of drivers crossing into oncoming traffic or even crashing their vehicles.

Is Drowsy Driving Similar to Drunk Driving?

Drowsy driving may be comparable to driving slightly above or below the legal limit for alcohol consumption. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sleep deprivation may impair your ability to drive in the same way as drinking too much alcohol. The CDC claims that a person who has been awake for 24 hours has the same level of impairment as someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.10 percent. This BAC level, which is comparable to roughly five alcoholic beverages, is considered drunk driving in all 50 states.

How impaired is a person with a BAC of .10? According to the CDC a person with a BAC of .10 has:

  • A marked deterioration of reaction time and control
  • Slurred speech, poor coordination and slowed thinking
  • A reduced ability to brake appropriately or maintain lane control

The CDC maintains that drowsiness also strengthens the effects of alcohol. A driver with a BAC of .05 who is also drowsy may be impaired in a way that is similar to a person with a higher BAC.

Future blogs are going to discuss why drowsy driving is a major issue in the commercial trucking industry. Keep what you read today mind when you read future blogs on this topic. For future updates on driving safety blogs, follow the Macon auto accident attorneys at McArthur Law Firm on Facebook and Twitter.



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