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Car accident risks increase the less people sleep

Survey data from the National Sleep Foundation should awaken New Jersey drivers to the hazards of sleep deprivation and fatigue. People who are drowsy behind the wheel are more prone to losing their focus and causing a crash than well-rested drivers.

Polls conducted by the National Sleep Foundation revealed the prevalence of weary commuters. Twenty-seven percent of people admitted feeling sleepy when driving to work a few days each month. As for driving drowsy more than once a week, 12 percent of people said they felt that way. Four percent responded that they were sleepy every day they drove to their jobs.

Conservative estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration link sleepy drivers to 100,000 car accidents annually. Financial damages from those wrecks reach over $12 billion. Sleep deprivation contributes to approximately 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries a year. Furthermore, a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that people double their car accident risk if they sleep only six to seven hours a night compared to eight-hour sleepers. For people who only get five hours sleep or less, the chance of being in an accident quadruples.

When people are injured in car accidents, they have an interest in knowing the results of the official accident investigation. That information could reveal that the accident was caused by a negligent driver who could potentially be held accountable by the injured person. Driver fatigue and other distractions like texting and driving might be viewed as negligence. An attorney could help a person determine if the evidence would support a personal injury claim seeking compensation for medical bills and lost income.

Source: National Sleep Foundation, “Facts and Stats,” accessed on March 27, 2015

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