Recent study reveals the prevalence of drowsy driver-related crashes

Driving without proper sleep can be more dangerous than people think, based on the results of a new study.

Getting behind the wheel without a decent amount of sleep can be dangerous. A life-threatening situation can happen at any time on the road, and it is important for drivers in New York to make sure that they are in a clear and alert state whenever they are operating a vehicle. This will enable them to notice hazards and be prepared to make split-second decisions when needed.

Analyzing accidents involving drowsy driving

The American Automotive Association's Foundation for Traffic Safety recently performed a study from 2009 to 2013, updating the data from a similar study that had been conducted a few years earlier. They compiled their results by studying a sample of 14,268 automobile crashes that resulted in a vehicle being towed. In the case of drivers who were ambiguous, researchers used multiple imputation to estimate the proportion of drivers who were drowsy. In all other cases, investigators were able to use their training to confirm if a driver was drowsy at the time of a crash.

Official government statistics show that 1 to 3 percent of crashes with motor vehicles involve drowsy driving. The AAA results are much higher, and also separate the crashes into different classes: crashes where injuries occurred, crashes where a vehicle was towed, crashes in which someone had to be hospitalized and crashes where somebody was killed.

In the case of crashes involving injury, 7 percent involved a drowsy driver. In those where a vehicle was towed, 6 percent of them had a drowsy driver behind a wheel. Crashes resulting in injury had a drowsy driver involved 13 percent of the time. In situations where someone was killed in a car crash, 21 percent of the time there was drowsy driving taking place.

The dangers of driving drowsy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that drowsiness can contribute to the risk of a car crash in multiple ways. Drivers do not make good decisions when they are sleepy. Paying attention to the road is more difficult as well. Also, drowsiness makes a driver slower to react to sudden dangers.

One survey revealed that during the previous 30 days at the time, falling asleep at the wheel was reported by 1 in 25 drivers who were 18 years of age and older. The CDC also states that drowsy driving can occur as the result of a person's work shift, the taking of medications or alcohol, or from a sleep disorder that has not been diagnosed.

Car accidents in New York happen when people least expect them to. However, the law gives them the right to pursue compensation for the expensive medical costs or possible grieving and funeral costs. People may want to explore these legal options by talking to a skilled personal injury lawyer.