Car Accident

Over the weekend, a teen driver rolled a Ford F-350 pickup truck on Interstate 82 in Sunnyside, after he reportedly fell asleep at the wheel. He and his passenger were taken to a local hospital following the afternoon wreck. Fortunately, both driver and passenger were wearing seat belts.

The Washington State Patrol reported that the teenage boy was heading eastbound, when his truck veered into the median, causing him to flip and roll into the westbound lanes.

Troopers are recommending that the driver be cited for second-degree negligent driving. View original news source here.

Drowsy Driving Contributor to Auto Accidents

The National Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) estimates that each year some 100,000 auto accidents reported to law enforcement were the direct result of driver fatigue; in other words, they were caused by a drowsy driver.

Studies also show that 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 BILLION in monetary losses are attributed to drowsy driving or falling asleep at the wheel. No one really wants to admit fault or responsibility after an auto accident, so these numbers could be higher. As there are no tests to measure or determine sleepiness, and self-reporting being unreliable at best, exhausted driving could be happening far more than we know. See more facts and stats on drowsy driving.

Auto Accident Risks and Statistics for Drowsy Driving

It stands to reason that the more tired you are, the more likely you are to fall asleep, even behind the wheel. Those most apt to experience drowsy driving are men and teenage boys, night shift or graveyard workers, people who are chronically sleep-deprived (not getting at least 6 hours of sleep per night), and adults with small children. Research indicates commercial drivers and people with undiagnosed disorders, like sleep apnea and acute insomnia, are also at greater risk of falling asleep when driving.

The National Sleep Foundation conducted a study of how often sleep issues effect people’s travels. With nearly 71%, approximately 170 million Americans, commuting to and from work in personal vehicles, many have admitted to having driven while feeling tired or sleepy in the last year. More than 1/3 of them have fallen asleep at the wheel. And 4%–approximately 11 million drivers—admit they’ve had a near-accident as a direct result of dozing off while driving.

Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving

Here are a few safety signs to be aware of while driving:

  • Yawning or blinking frequently
  • Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven
  • Missing your exit
  • Drifting within and from your lane
  • Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road

Prevent Drowsy Driving Prevents Auto Accidents

There are some things you should do before taking the wheel to prevent driver fatigue and drowsy driving:

  • Get enough sleep! Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep a day, while teens need at least 8 hours.
  • Develop good sleeping habits, and follow a sleep schedule.
  • If you have a sleep disorder or have symptoms of a sleep disorder such as snoring or feeling sleepy during the day, talk to your physician about treatment options.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or taking medications that make you sleepy. Be sure to check the label on any medications or talk to your pharmacist.

Stay Alert and Get Help

If you notice the warning signs of drowsy driving, pull over to a safe place and take a 15-20 minute nap or change drivers.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident that may have been caused by a sleepy driver, call Fielding Law Group today!