CDC Report Outlines Risks, Prevalence of Drowsy Driving

May 24, 2014
by Adler Markoff & Associates

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    CDC Report Outlines Risks, Prevalence of Drowsy Driving

    In a new analysis published on January 3, 2013, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discussed not only the dangers of driving drowsy, but also brought critical attention to how common the risky practice is among American drivers. In fact, estimates by the agency indicate that 2.5% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents and 2% of all nonfatal accidents in the United States may involve drowsy driving, and federal health officials suggest that motorists need to pay more attention to the risks and symptoms associated with driving while fatigued. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident in Oklahoma that you believe to have been caused by another driver who was fatigued or otherwise negligent, don’t hesitate to protect your legal rights. Contact our experienced attorneys at AMA Law to explore your compensation options.


    In its report, the CDC examined data from nearly 150,000 drivers in 19 states, and discovered that 4.2% admitted having fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days. In the largest study to date to examine the prevalence of drowsy driving in the U.S., the study authors’ findings supported previous research indicating that about 4% of participants (and in one case 11%) fell asleep while driving in the previous year. In their analysis, lead author Anne G. Wheaton of the CDC and her colleagues cited statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showing that drowsy driving was associated with 730 fatal and 30,000 nonfatal motor vehicle accidents in 2009 alone. They also noted that drowsy driving accidents are more likely to result in injuries and deaths compared to non-drowsy driving accidents.


    In an effort to curb devastating collisions caused by drowsy driving, Wheaton and her team offered some advice to prevent motorists from nodding off behind the wheel. “Drivers should ensure that they get enough sleep (7-9 hours), seek treatment for sleep disorders, and refrain from alcohol use before driving,” researchers wrote. They also supported a recommendation from the NHTSA that employers of shift workers (anyone who works beyond a typical work day) provide transportation for those workers or allow them to take a nap at work. For drivers themselves, the first sign of fatigue – i.e. frequent blinking or yawning, drifting out of the lane, the feel of rumble strips on the shoulder – should also be the moment you stop operating your vehicle. “The only safe thing for drivers to do if they start to feel tired while driving is to get off the road and rest,” the study authors wrote, noting that opening windows and turning up the radio volume are not effective ways to stay awake.


    According to an editorial note that accompanied the CDC report, “Although it is clear that falling asleep while driving is dangerous, drowsiness impairs driving skills even if drivers manage to stay awake. Drowsiness slows reaction time, makes drivers less attentive, and impairs decision making skills, all of which can contribute to motor vehicle crashes.” If you have been injured in a serious car accident in Oklahoma caused by another motorist’s drowsy driving, consult our qualified lawyers at AMA Law as soon as possible. Our Oklahoma City-based law firm has extensive experience handling cases involving drowsy driving and other forms of negligence behind the wheel, and our attorneys will work diligently to help you pursue the financial compensation you deserve for your accident-related losses.

    Request a free consultation

    (405) 607-8757