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Drowsy Driving Top Culprit in Car Accidents, Study Reveals

Close to 5 percent of drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel!

According to a The New York Times, drivers who sleep less than six hours every night, those who snore and those who may have a sleep disorder are most likely to nod off behind the wheel.
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Officials are saying that the actual number of drivers who have fallen asleep behind the wheel is much, much higher than reported by the recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Drivers may not have realized that they fell asleep at the time or they may not even remember it. In other cases, the issue is underreported by law enforcement.

Our Cape Coral car accident lawyers understand that drowsy driving is a big, big problem on our roadways. As a matter of fact, there were close to 750 fatal accidents in 2009 in which a drowsy driver was involved. Officials say that there were another 30,000 reported in which fatigue played a role. Still, the true number may never be known as drivers aren’t likely to admit their sleepiness behind the wheel. The truth of the matter is that these kinds of accidents have been proven to be more deadly and to cause more injuries than other accidents. This is mostly because drivers aren’t awake to hit the brakes or react in any way to the accident.

Anne G. Wheaton, epidemiologist with the CDC, says that the study looked at more than 145,000 adults and asked them various questions about their daily activities. It asked about work, sleep and driving habits. In this information, researchers discovered that men were more likely to jump behind the wheel feeling drowsy than women and this kind of driving behavior decreased as a driver’s age increased. According to the study, about 5 percent of drivers 15 to 44 say that they have fallen asleep behind the wheel, while less than 2 percent of drivers over the age of 64 admitted to the dangerous behavior.

This study was recently released in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Snoring and Drowsy Driving:

Researchers found that snoring had significant influence on drowsy driving. This may not apply to all drivers, but in many cases snoring is a sign of obstructive sleep apnea which ultimately causes brief pauses in breathing. Those with this condition typically sleep poorly and complain more of being tired during the day.

“One of the warning signs is when you have trouble remembering the last few miles that you’ve driven, or when you miss an exit. It could be because you actually fell asleep for a second,” said Dr. Wheaton.

According to a number of studies, driving while drowsy gives a driver the same reaction abilities as someone who is legally drunk.

Safe driving advocates warn drivers not to rely on caffeine or any other short fixes for drowsy driving. When you start to feel tired behind the wheel, your best bet is to pull over, rest and get back on the road when you’re well awake.

Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, if you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident. Call today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. 1-800-283-2900.

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Florida: One of the Deadliest for Drunk Driving Car Accidents, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 30, 2012