Study: Drowsy driving is an all too common danger

A recent study conducted by researchers for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drowsy driving is an all too common danger.

Often, people throughout the Chicago Metropolitan area overlook the dangers of driving while overly fatigued. However, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that 109,000 injury accidents and 6,400 fatal collisions involving drowsy drivers occur each year. Despite knowing the potential hazards of falling asleep while behind the wheel, a recent study found that motorists regularly drive while they are drowsy.

The dangers of drowsy driving

Fatigue and drowsiness may have a range of effects on drivers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that drowsy motorists may have difficulty focusing on the task of driving. Additionally, fatigue may cause people to experience impaired judgment and slowed reaction times. Due to these effects, drivers may be unable to react to situations that may arise on the road, such as hazards and changes in driving conditions. Consequently, they may have an increased likelihood of causing auto collisions, which may have potentially deadly consequences.

Studying the commonness of drowsy driving

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study to update the estimates of the prevalence of self-reported fatigued driving. For the study, researchers conducted a survey of drivers from across the U.S. The survey asked participants questions about their driving behaviors, their feelings regarding traffic safety and how they perceive social norms. Then, the researchers examined the responses from 2,545 participants in order to estimate the commonness of drowsy driving.

Study shows fatigued driving is all too common

Based on the study's findings, drivers frequently get behind the wheel while they are overly fatigued. Over the course of the 30 days before the survey, 31.5 percent of the respondents admitted to driving while they were so tired that they struggled to stay awake. Additionally, 17.4 percent of the drivers surveyed reported that they have fallen asleep or nodded off while driving at least three times during their lives.

Despite these results, 97 percent of the study's respondents said it was not okay for people to drive when they were so tired that it is difficult to keep their eyes open. These responses are in line with an overall social disapproval of overly fatigued driving. Based on this, however, the researchers believe that the commonness of drowsy driving may be more significant than they estimated.

Seeking legal guidance

As a result of drowsy driving accidents in Illinois, those injured may require extensive medical treatment. For many, this leads to undue medical expenses and, sometimes, lost wages. In some cases, however, the negligent drivers who cause such collisions may be held liable for these, and other damages. Thus, it may be of benefit for those who have experienced situations such as this to consult with an attorney. A lawyer may help them to understand their rights and options, as well as guide them through the legal process.