According to federal statistics, drowsy driving is responsible for at least 11,000 fatal car accidents in the 10 years between 2000 and 2010. Despite this grim number and the obvious dangers of falling asleep behind the wheel, many Americans admit to driving in a dangerously tired state on a regular basis.
It is easy to understand how drowsy driving happens. Many of us lead busy lives and the combination of driving a familiar route at the end of a long day can quickly lull even the most alert driver into sleepiness. However, the majority of drivers responsibly anticipate the severe consequences of drowsy driving.
These drivers either avoid getting on the road or take steps to keep themselves alert. For example, it only takes a few minutes to stop for a cup of coffee. The fact that the consequences are so obvious and steps to prevent drowsiness are readily available means that drivers are likely liable for negligence after a sleep-related crash.
The problem for victims is that proving drowsiness can be very difficult: by the time a motor vehicle accident occurs, the driver is likely to be completely awake and alert.
Check back later for more on drowsy driving and why it represents such a hard puzzle for authorities and lawmakers.
Source: ABC News, “Drowsy Driving Remains an Elusive Highway Dilemma,” Frank Eltman, May 11, 2013