The Impact of Drowsy Driving Auto Accidents in Atlanta, Georgia
Drowsy Driving Causes 1 in 5 Fatal Car Accidents
Falling asleep at the wheel is one way to cause a very serious auto accident. This is because the sleeping driver is not aware of the impending collision, so does absolutely nothing to avoid or minimize it. These are accidents that frequently occur at high speeds, without any attempt to slow down, and therefore, frequently result in death. In fact, one in five fatal auto accidents are the result of drowsy driving. The victims and their loved ones are left wondering what happened, how this could have happened, and what they are going to do now. If you are a victim of a drowsy driving accident, you can get compensation for your damages in an auto accident personal injury claim. If you are the survivor of someone who was killed by a drowsy driver, you can file a wrongful death claim for compensation.
Statistics on Drowsy Driving Auto Accidents in the United States
Beyond the fact that one in five fatal auto accidents are caused by drowsy drivers, the other statistics that have been gathered on this subject are just as alarming. For example, in 2016 alone, there were over 325,000 auto accidents that involved drowsy driving. These incidents resulted in 109,000 injuries and 6,400 deaths. For a clearer idea of how this relates to your own sleep and driving habits, if you are sleeping for only five to six hours each night, your risk of causing an auto accident on any given day is almost twice as high as anyone who sleeps for seven to nine hours and is exactly as high as it would be if you were drunk.
Seven to nine hours is what experts advise for anyone who wants to live a healthy and productive life, and it turns out that it's actually essential if you are going to be driving and don't want to change someone's life forever because you didn't get enough sleep. Unfortunately, as many as 35% of drivers aren't sleeping for even seven hours each night, and more than 10% are sleeping for fewer than five hours each night. These drivers are a shocking 330% more likely to cause an auto accident. If that doesn't scare you into changing your sleeping habits or finding a safer mode of travel to and from work, then you may end up being responsible for the life altering consequences that result from drowsy driving.
Of course, drowsy driving is not only caused by not getting enough sleep. It can also be caused by working irregular hours because, even when you do get enough sleep, the disruption of a normal sleep schedule can lead to drowsiness behind the wheel. Those who work multiple shifts, change shifts frequently, and/or just work third shift are at greatest risk.
Impairments Associated with Drowsy Driving Auto Accidents
Drowsy driving, even if you don't actually fall asleep, impairs your ability to drive safely. It slows your reaction time and impacts your ability to make accurate judgments, such as maintaining a safe distance, and responding appropriately to any given situation on the road. When someone actually falls asleep at the wheel, they are likely to lose control of their vehicle, drift into the wrong lane, go off into a ditch, or crash into a tree.
How is the State of Georgia Responding to the Hazard of Drowsy Driving?
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association in Georgia is working to fight the effects of drowsy driving by funding drowsy driving auto accident prevention programs. Because it is impossible to make drowsy driving illegal, as there is no way to objectively determine how tired someone may be, how much sleep they are getting, or how long they've been on the road, the best thing that the government can do is take steps to educate drivers about the risks.
The National Road Safety Foundation has contributed to these efforts by providing a grant of $100,000 to Georgia (as well as to other states) to use for the direct purpose of minimizing the risks of drowsy driving. The goal is to find innovative solutions and improve public awareness of this issue. Many people who drive drowsy do not realize how severely impaired they are and would never imagine themselves causing a fatal accident.
This new funding was announced in November of 2016 in recognition of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, which was November 6th – 13th in 2016. Throughout the week, multiple efforts were made to improve education and awareness about the effects of drowsy driving and what people in Atlanta and throughout Georgia can do to prevent this hazard.
With more than 325,000 drowsy driving auto accidents and as many as 6,400 deaths throughout the United States in any given year, the overall cost of these incidents is $109 billion. This information inspired the United States government and many state and local governments to take aggressive action through educational initiatives and public awareness campaigns. It is important to ensure that new drivers are taught about the dangers of drowsy driving and what to do when they are too tired to drive. It is also important to make the public more aware of this issue and how to prevent themselves from becoming a part of the risk.
How Can You Prevent Drowsy Driving Auto Accidents in Atlanta, Georgia?
Some examples of things that you can do to prevent drowsy driving auto accidents in Atlanta, Georgia include making sure that you get enough sleep each night and pulling over in a safe place when you feel too tired to get behind the wheel. If you find it difficult to keep your eyes open, difficult to focus on the road, or if you feel that you are in danger of nodding off, then it is better to pull over in a safe area and take a nap in your car or find a hotel room than it is to stay on the road in a drowsy condition. You can also consider calling someone to come get you if you are in such a situation. If you work odd hours or are unable to address your drowsiness by getting enough sleep, then consider carpooling to and from work or finding other means of transportation. It may be inconvenient, but it may also save lives.
What if You or Someone You Love is Harmed in a Drowsy Driving Accident?
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a drowsy driving auto accident in Atlanta, Georgia, you should contact an experienced Atlanta car crash lawyer at Council & Associates for a free consultation. We can help you recover the compensation that you are owed for your injuries and losses.