The dangers of distracted driving and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are well known, with campaigns in Georgia and across the country targeting these risky behaviors. Another type of impaired driving is arguably just as dangerous, but generally receives less attention. A new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has brought the issue to light - drowsy driving.
According to the CDC report, approximately 2.5 percent of all fatal auto accidents involve a drowsy driver. In addition, around 2 percent of all other motor vehicle accidents - those that do not result in fatalities - involve drivers who are fatigued.
The CDC questioned over 147,000 motorists to determine the frequency with which drivers are getting behind the wheel when they are tired. The survey found that over 4 percent of the respondents had actually fallen asleep while behind the wheel during the previous month, on at least one occasion.
The report identified certain demographics that were more likely to drive when fatigued, including:
- Younger drivers
- Employed individuals (compared to people who were retired, students or unemployed)
In addition, people who consistently do not get enough sleep or who suffer from sleep disorders are more likely to fall asleep while behind the wheel. According to the study, motorists who slept six hours or less were more likely to fall asleep when driving.
The CDC estimates that, in total, between 5,000 and 6,000 fatal motor vehicle crashes each year are the result of drowsy driving. Consequently, it is critical for people to take steps to ensure they are alert enough to get behind the wheel.
Prevent drowsy driving accidents in Georgia
According to the CDC report, drowsy driving is a significant concern in Georgia. The report found that 188 people in Georgia had fallen asleep while driving during the previous 30 days. The survey was administered to 5,466 people in Georgia, making the state-specific results similar to the national figures. According to the CDC survey, slightly over 4 percent of Georgia motorists reported that they had fallen asleep while behind the wheel in the past month.
To prevent these dangerous accidents, the National Institutes of Health recommend that drivers get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. In addition, it is always wise for motorists to avoid alcohol or medications that can cause drowsiness before driving.
When a driver begins to exhibit symptoms of drowsiness, he or she should pull over and rest or allow another driver to take over. Some of those symptoms include yawning, drifting from the lane, frequent blinking and missing exits or traffic signals.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident caused by a drowsy driver, consulting with a skilled Georgia personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.