The dangers of driver fatigue

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

From alcohol intoxication to over-the-counter drug use and reckless behavior, such as reaching excessive speeds, there are all sorts of reasons why traffic accidents take place. However, in San Francisco, and across all parts of California, it is especially important for people to understand the risks associated with driver fatigue. Unfortunately, fatigue can affect anyone and some people do not realize how much a lack of sleep can impact their driving abilities.

According to material presented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic collisions involving driver fatigue often have a number of characteristics. For example, these wrecks frequently occur early in the morning, late at night or in the middle of the afternoon. Those who face a particularly high risk include people who have narcolepsy or sleep apnea that is left untreated, young drivers and those whose work hours are irregular. Fatigue can affect drivers in multiple ways, such as impeding the processing of critical information, reducing a driver’s focus and increasing the time it takes for a driver to react.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a study involving almost 150,000 U.S. adults found that four percent admitted to falling asleep at the wheel in the past 30 days. Moreover, it is estimated that drowsy drivers caused over 72,000 motor vehicle accidents during 2013, resulting in 800 fatalities and 42,000 injuries. Worse yet, it is suspected that these figures do not account for all of the drowsy driving crashes that occur, since it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint a driver’s drowsiness after a crash.

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