NHTSA Working to Fight Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving is a nationwide problem that endangers the lives of everyone on the road. Our New Jersey auto accident attorneys have seen firsthand the severe effets these types of accidents can have on victims and their families.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 2015, there were more than 72,000 drowsy driving accidents reported by police that caused 41,000 injuries and more than 800 deaths.
However, the agency and other safety advocates estimate that the problem could be much larger. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine the exact number of auto accidents caused by this dangerous driving behavior.
That is why the NHTSA is committed to working toward identifying the full extent of the problem and creating programs that can help eliminate it.
This week, the agency launched a new campaign titled “Asleep at the Wheel: A National Compendium of Efforts to Eliminate Drowsy Driving.”
The compendium is a collective effort of numerous public and private organizations that are working together to develop effective methods to eliminate drowsy driving from U.S. roads.
NHTSA Efforts to Eliminate Drowsy Driving
The NHTSA believes that more can be done to educate the public about the dangers of drowsy driving and has outlined several tactics for reducing the problem. The agency plans to:
- Improve crash reporting through research and development to document the impact of drowsy driving
- Partner with public and private stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of new and existing laws and to encourage new policies for handling drowsy driving
- Educate the public and raise awareness about the dangers of drowsy driving
- Encourage the development of vehicle technologies with drowsiness detection, alerts and vehicle response systems
The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsiness reduces a driver’s ability to pay attention to the road, slows reaction time and affects a driver’s ability to make good decisions.
A study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers who miss one to two hours of sleep in a 24-hour period double their risk for an accident. Missing two to three hours quadruples the risk, which is the same risk as driving over the legal limit for alcohol.
That same study showed that although 97 percent of drivers think drowsy driving is unacceptable, one in three admit to having driven when they were so tired they could not keep their eyes open.
Additional research from 2012 shows that young drivers under the age of 24 are most likely to report having fallen asleep while driving.
How to Avoid Drowsy Driving
The NHTSA recommends these tips for avoiding driving while drowsy:
- Get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
- Get a full night’s sleep before starting a long car trip.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before driving. Alcohol consumption increases impairment and drowsiness.
- Do not take medication that makes you drowsy before driving.
- Stay aware of the signs of drowsy driving, which include: trouble keeping your eyes open, drifting out of your lane or difficulty keeping your head up while driving.
- Pull over and take a nap if you feel drowsy.
- Coffee and energy drinks may help in the short-term, but are not always enough.
Drowsy driving is negligent driving. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a drowsy driving accident you may have legal options. Contact a New Jersey personal injury lawyer at Lynch Law Firm, PC for a free, no obligation consultation to learn more.
Call (800) 518-0508 today.