Asleep at the Wheel – How Drowsy Driving Impacts Everyone

Earlier this month the Associated Press reported on a new sleep study being conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. The study’s goal was to discover how regulated sleep schedules impact long-haul truckers. Funded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to the tune of $2.5 million, researchers hope to uncover whether sleep plays any role in a driver’s skill behind the wheel. Industry leaders plan to use the information to avoid further fatal truck accidents along our nations roads. The FMCSA estimates that nearly 4,000 people die each year due in part to fatigued truck drivers. Sleepy driving in Fresno can lead to accidents and lawsuits. Understand how you should be protected.

While truck drivers often get most of the attention when it comes to falling asleep behind the wheel, they are not the only ones. Not by a long shot.

Recently, a Greyhound bus driver fell asleep at the wheel while driving along U.S. 101 near San Jose. The wreck left the bus flipped on its side and two passengers dead. Of course, this is only one of thousands of potential fatigue induced incidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that there are roughly 100,000 reported accidents caused by drowsy drivers every year. This number could be underreported due to the fact that, unlike intoxication, there’s no test to determine if a person is sleep deprived.

So what can be done?

As like most things, change starts with the individual. If you’re exhausted – physically or emotionally – don’t get behind the wheel. You are just as likely to cause an accident as if you had been drinking. If you are in the car with someone who seems exhausted, suggest driving for them or pulling over to rest before continuing on. It may delay your trip or seem like an inconvenience, but it could also save your life.

Remember, if you cause an accident and it’s determined that you were sleep deprived at the time, you could be held accountable for the ensuing damages – both in criminal and civil court. Do the rest of us motorists a favor – take a nap before getting behind the wheel. If you have any other questions about personal injury accidents, contact the Law Office of Rick D. Banks today.

You can reach us at (559) 222-4891.

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