Several potential dangers await motorists in South Dakota each time they take to the road. Many drivers are unaware of the increased risk of accidents caused by fatigued drivers. But drivers battling the effects of fatigue are no less dangerous than drivers who drink or who endanger the lives of motorists in other ways.
Fatigued driving statistics
The National Sleep Foundation reports that nearly half of the motorists taking part in a survey admitted to regularly driving while fatigued. One in five of these drivers say they have fallen asleep behind the wheel one or more times over the past 12 months. Forty percent of the drivers surveyed say they fell asleep at least once in their lives while operating a motor vehicle.
Fatigued driving impact
Drivers who operate a motor vehicle while drowsy or fatigued suffer the same decrease in driving ability as drivers that consume alcohol. The risk of a motor vehicle accident increases three-fold for fatigued drivers. Experts attribute most of this increased danger to loss of awareness and slower reaction times. Motorists who drive after not sleeping for 20 hours suffer the same impairment as drivers with a blood alcohol content past the legal limit.
Fatigued driving accident frequency
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 100,000 documented crashes each year involving fatigued drivers. These accidents result in more than 1,500 deaths and 70,000 injuries. The NHTSA explains the actual number of accidents involving fatigued drivers may be much higher since it is difficult to distinguish when fatigue plays a role in an accident.
Fatigued Driving Intervention
About half of the fatigued driving accidents in the country involve drivers under the age of 25. Parents should speak to young drivers about the dangers of this habit. Drivers can also take measures to ensure they get sufficient sleep each night and avoid taking medications that may cause them to become drowsy before operating a motor vehicle.
No one likes to think about the possibility of becoming involved in a traffic accident when they leave their home in a car. Unfortunately, the threat of an accident is always present. Individuals who are injured in a crash that was caused by the negligence of another driver may help their cause by speaking with an attorney.