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Young adults are often cautioned about the dangers of drinking and driving, especially as they go off to college. College parties are typically rife with alcohol and drugs, which can lead to catastrophic accidents if attendees decide to get behind the wheel while under the influence. However, while many college students are aware of the consequences of drinking and driving, many are still not informed about the dangers associated with another equally risky behavior – drowsy driving.
Each year, approximately 300,000 crashes are caused by drowsy driving. A recent American Automobile Association (AAA) study revealed that drowsy driving is a factor in more accidents than previously indicated in federal estimates. The study was the most in-depth of its kind. Through dashboard camera footage, researchers studied drivers’ faces in the moments leading up to a crash and determined that drowsiness was responsible for up to 9.5 percent of all crashes, much higher than the two percent indicated by federal studies.
The AAA has reported that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. When drivers are fatigued, they display the same performance impairments as drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. Slowed reaction time, decreased alertness, and impaired judgment and vision are all manifestations of both driving drunk and driving drowsy. The AAA Director for Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research states that teenagers are among those with the greatest risk of being involved in drowsy driving car accidents because they often do not obtain enough sleep.
Teenagers should get eight to ten hours of sleep per night and adults should sleep for at least seven, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 35 percent of U.S. drivers do not get the recommended hours of sleep per night.
A recent study by the University of Washington found that while most students considered drunk driving and distracted driving to be dangerous, they considered drowsy driving an unavoidable part of life. They also admitted to driving drowsy and some students even reported having been in a drowsy driving car accident. Seventy percent of college students surveyed in an earlier study admitted to drowsy driving, 40 percent of which had done so in the past year.
New Jersey and Arkansas are the only two states that have laws criminalizing drowsy driving. However, it is difficult to prove an under-reported cause of drowsy driving car accidents. There are currently no tests designed to detect whether a person’s fatigue caused an accident. Many college students suggest that public awareness campaigns on billboards and social media would be most effective in raising awareness regarding the dangers of drowsy driving.
If you were injured in a car accident that you suspect was caused by a drowsy driver, contact the South Jersey car accident lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. Our skilled and experienced attorneys can help you determine the cause of the accident and recover the financial compensation you deserve. We represent clients throughout South Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area from our offices in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Contact us online or call us at 856-354-9444 for a free consultation.