When you are driving to work, to run errands or out to see a friend, you have the right to expect the drivers around you to behave in a reasonably cautious way so they don't hurt you. At a bare minimum, you'd think it would be reasonable to expect that the drivers around you would at least be awake. Unfortunately, a new study shows that a good percentage of them may not be.
Our Chicago accident attorneys believe that drowsy driving is one of the most dangerous behaviors that people engage in behind the wheel today. We urge everyone to pay attention to the new study and to be aware that there may be people on the road who are not only failing to pay attention but who are literally asleep at the wheel.
The Dangers of Drowsy Drivers
Studies have confirmed time and again that people who are too tired do not drive very well. In fact, most experts indicate that a drowsy driver is every bit as impaired by his fatigue as a drunk driver is by the six-pack he drinks before getting into his car. Both a drowsy and a drunk driver are much more likely to get into a crash, and both are making a bad decision that not only endangers themselves but that unfortunately makes the commute riskier for everyone else as well.
Despite this information, many people are driving drowsy. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided to find out just how many people were falling asleep at the wheel. The CDC conducted a very large study - the largest of its kind - by interviewing 147,000 people in 20 different locations across the US (D.C. plus 19 states).
The CDC found that:
- Of all drivers surveyed, a total of 4.2 percent had fallen asleep driving in the 30 days before answering the telephone questions.
- Of all drivers surveyed in Illinois, 2.9 percent had fallen asleep in the prior 30 days.
- Of all drivers surveyed in Washington, D.C., 2.6 percent had fallen asleep in the prior 30 days.
The CDC also found that there were certain people and certain age groups that were more likely to fall asleep at the wheel. For example, only around 1 percent of those drivers who were retired said they'd dozed as they drove compared to almost 5 percent of drivers in the 18-44 age group. Men were far more likely to be drowsy drivers than women, and people who snored or who got 6 hours of sleep or less were also falling asleep in greater proportions. Educational attainment, however, did not have an impact on whether a person was likely to be dozing as they drove.
Being Aware of the Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Unfortunately, the study shows that a lot of drowsy people are out there in their cars at any given time. You don't want to be one of them. You do want to be on the lookout for them so you can avoid them and stay safe.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE.