The Dangers of Driving While Fatigued

The Dangers of Driving While Fatigued

Every person who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle has the legal duty to drive in accordance with the law in order to reduce the risk of auto accidents. While most people understand this duty and what it means – i.e. obeying traffic laws, not driving under the influence, etc. – many people still commit negligent acts that result in preventable wrecks and injuries. One of the most common acts of negligence, one which many people don’t even realize they do, is driving while tired.

Fatigued driving has become a large concern across America, as more people work long hours and often don’t get sufficient rest as recommended by medical professionals. Even the most conscientious drivers can commit this act, causing them to unwittingly endanger others. Statistics reveal, alarmingly, that 250,000 drivers fall asleep behind the wheel every day in the U.S.

Here’s what you need to know about driving while fatigued:

  • Fatigued driving increases the risk of an accident. Numerous studies have found that driving while fatigued poses an increased accident risk. Traffic reports studied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have shown that an estimated 100,000 traffic crashes involving a police report each year indicate that a fatigued driver is at fault. Studies also indicate that the less sleep a driver gets, the greater the risks of an accident. For example, drivers who get 6 to 7 hours of sleep are two times as likely to be involved in a wreck as drivers who get a full 8 hours of rest or more. Motorists who slept for under 5 hours increase their crash risks by as many as 4 to 5 times that of fully rested drivers.
  • Fatigued driving is just as dangerous as driving drunk. A recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that that driving after just 4 – 5 hours of sleep is just as dangerous as driving with a BAC level above the legal limit. This means researchers found evidence of comparable risks between fatigued drivers and drunk drivers. This is an important finding that should put the dangers of fatigued driving in better perspective for all motorists.

What You Can Do to Prevent Fatigued Driving

Medical professionals and researchers both recommend that in order to decrease risks of accidents, drivers should get an adequate amount of rest each night. While this may not always be the case in the real world, drivers can make up lost hours by sleeping more the following night, and can take rest breaks and turns when driving longer hours. Drivers who find themselves falling asleep at the wheel should always pull over, rest, or call for a ride if they believe they are too fatigued to drive safely.

Are There Laws Against Fatigued Driving?

Although there are currently no laws or tests to determine if a driver is too tired to drive, such as tests that exist for drunk drivers, there may be laws in place when certain parties are involved. For example, drivers of commercial vehicles and trucks are regulated by laws that prevent them from working too many hours and being behind the wheel for too long. When commercial drivers violate these regulations and cause accidents as a result, they can be held accountable for the damages victims suffer.

Injured by a Tired Driver? Tell Us About Your Case.

At The Barrera Law Firm, PLLC, we focus on protecting the rights of victims injured in preventable auto accidents, including accidents involving tired drivers. Over the years, we have used our attorneys’ decades of collective experience to fully establish fault and liability in auto accident cases and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation when our clients needed it most.

If you have questions about auto accidents, your rights, and what our Virginia personal injury lawyers can do to help you and your case, contact us today for a FREE consultation.