We’ve all been there before — driving down the road, struggling to keep our eyes open. Did you know that it’s that exact scenario that led to more than 11,000 fatalities in the last decade?
According to Yahoo News, it’s a problem that can’t really be detected. We’ve got breathalyzers and blood tests to determine if a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But there’s nothing to detect sleepiness. And what’s even worse is that drivers aren’t likely to admit that they were in fact drowsy when an accident happened.
Our Stuart City car accident lawyers understand that officials have tried to combat this problem by enacting laws to limit the number of hours drivers spend behind the wheel in one day. The problem here is that it’s the same drivers who are reporting their work hours. Authorities had long known many aren’t willing to be truthful in reporting.
In the state of Florida, we have the “Ronshay Dugans Act” proclaiming the first week of September “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.” During the week, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Department of Transportation are encouraged to educated the law enforcement community and the public about the relationship between fatigue and performance and the research showing fatigue to be as much of an impairment as alcohol and as dangerous while driving a motor vehicle.
But, with the topic in the news, the beginning of summer is an apt time for this important reminder.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are small fixes for this problem. If you start to feel sleepy behind the wheel, you can refresh your energy by drinking two cups of coffee and then taking a 15- to 20-minute nap. This can refresh some drivers for a short period of time. On the other hand, many believe that opening the window or cranking up the music is enough to wake them up behind the wheel. And they couldn’t be more wrong.
Your best way to avoid getting drowsy behind the wheel is to make sure you’re getting regular, scheduled rest. This is especially important before taking a long road trip. You should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep each and every night. It’s for your health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that close to 40 percent of U.S. adult drivers have nodded off or fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once in the last 30 days.
“It’s just as bad as drinking and driving. As far as public awareness, drowsy driving is in the dark ages compared to that, but it’s just as dangerous,” said Mark Rosekind with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
It’s important that we raise awareness about this issue. A sleepy driver is a danger on our roadways. Sleepiness behind the wheel is a quick and sure way to get into an accident. Be safe and be alert out there as the summer travel season gets underway.
Freeman & Mallard is a personal injury and wrongful death law firm dedicated to helping those who have been injured. Call today for a free consultation. 1-800-529-2368.
More Blog Entries:
Young Driving and Alarmingly High Risks for Drowsy Driving, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, November 12, 2012
Man Struck by Three Cars in West Palm Pedestrian Accident, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, July 15, 2011