Everyone in Bellingham and beyond knows a drunk driver is a dangerous driver. But another hazard equally dangerous is often overlooked – drowsy driving.
A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that acute sleep deprivation exponentially increases the risk of an auto accident. Mild sleep deprivations also increase the risk. Both types of drivers studied (those who had less than seven hours of sleep in the previous 24 hours, and those who slept for one hour less than their normal sleep period) had a “significantly elevated crash risk”. The highest crash risk was 11.5 times the normal crash rate, and it was logged for those who had slept less than four hours. That rate is comparable to someone who has a blood alcohol content of 0.12 to 0.15. A DUI can be given to someone in most states for driving with a 0.08 BAC.
Another AAA Foundation study determined that about 1 in 5 fatal auto accidents were at least in part caused by a tired driver. While it might even be on the low side due to underreporting, this equates to approximately 6,000 fatal crashes in the US each year.
Many Americans get less than the necessary 7 hours of sleep each night. Over one-third routinely sleep for that amount, and 12% say they get by on five hours or less of sleep per night.
If you are in an accident where drowsiness may have been a factor, you may be eligible for compensation for your losses and injuries. Particularly in the hours between midnight and dawn, many drivers on the roads are dealing with some form of tiredness. Alcohol also can be a factor in accidents during that stretch of night. I can help you wade through the complex system of insurance settlements if you call me. We’ll discuss your case for free, a service I offer all accident victims and their loved ones. You can call me at (360) 392-2833 or via this contact form.