Drowsy Driving: What Have We Learned?

Drowsy Driving: 2013 to Now

professional driver in cab of his rig

Professional drivers must learn to combat drowsy driving.

People who drive on Texas roads for a living know that there are many things out there and inside of your car that can and will distract even the most focused of drivers. Driving on the freeway, people are talking on their cellphones, texting, putting on cosmetics, eating or drinking, or a variety of other activities that will distract a driver from placing their focus on the road. All of these distractions could have potentially fatal consequences. But, these distractions are obvious in nature and can be addressed as they occur to ensure the safety of the driver and passengers.

There is another distraction that is far more insidious and deadly because people do not even realize they are being affected by it. It is called drowsy driving.  Drowsy driving has been a problem for years. The NHTSA did a study in 2013-2014 which formed the basis for The Drowsy Driving Research and Program Plan–a strategic plan to combat drowsy driving.

2017 Studies Show the Statistics are Not Improving

According to statistics provided by NHTSA, there were 775 deaths due to fatigued or drowsy driving in 2018 and 795 deaths in 2017. In 2014, NHTSA data indicated there were 846 deaths due to drowsy or fatigued driving.  This appears to be a very gradual decrease. However, drowsy driving was responsible for an estimated 91,000 auto accidents in 2017 according to the statistics provided by the NHTSA. In the 2013 NHTSA study, they found that only an estimated 72,000 auto crashes involve drowsy driving annually.  So, the number of wrecks went up significantly over time while deaths were reduced only minimally. With these efforts seeming to be ineffective, what can the public do to prevent drowsy driving accidents?

Tips to Prevent Drowsy Driving Accidents

While there are many laws that the government has enacted in the name of public safety such as regulating the amount of time behind the wheel that truck drivers are able to log in a 24-hour period, there is only so much they can do to proactively prevent the tragedy that can occur from drowsy driving. It is ultimately up to all of us to do our part. The best thing a person can do to prevent drowsy driving is to ensure that he/she gets a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

What Can I do to Combat Drowsy Driving?

If you know you are likely to not get enough sleep before a road trip, here are some tips to combat drowsy driving from affecting you:

  • Drink a couple of cups of coffee and pull over in a low traffic area and get a 20-minute nap. This should help raise alertness levels if only for a short period of time.
  • Schedule your drive time during daylight hours to avoid the temptation of falling asleep at night while driving.
  • Avoid alcohol use prior to driving.
  • Avoid taking prescription medication that will impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle at or near your driving time.

Victims of Drowsy Driving

If you are a victim of a drowsy driving accident, contact an attorney who understands the magnitude of the problem. The law firm of Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., has handled many of these cases.  Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-298-0111.