Losing Even a Little Bit of Sleep Can Significantly Increase Your Chance of Being Involved in a Car Accident
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety did an exhaustive study on how many car accidents are the result of at least one driver being overtired. They found something shocking: A person who does not get at least seven hours of sleep every day will have twice the chance of causing a car accident compared to a person who got enough sleep. Losing two to three hours of sleep in 24 hours quadruples the chance of being involved in a car accident.
The Baseline of the Analysis
The information comes from a study that looked at more than 7,000 drivers involved in more than 4,500 car accidents. Critics of the results point out that the study could actually be underestimating how dangerous it is to drive while tired, because data for accidents during the hours of midnight and 6 AM was not available. In other studies, we have learned that attention and performance are most affected during those early hours.
Is Driving Tired as Dangerous as Driving Drunk?
Maybe. According to the study, a person’s risk of car accident is quadrupled if they miss two to three hours of sleep in a night. Likewise, a person’s likelihood of getting into an accident while drinking and driving is four times that of a sober person driving. In total, the NHTSA estimates that about 2 ½ percent of fatal car accidents, 37,000 injury accidents, and around 45,000 accidents involving property only are the result of a person driving while fatigued or drowsy.
Drivers Have Admitted to Driving While Drowsy
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) filed a report that stated that in nearly 3.5% of all car accidents that involved drivers 18 and up, the driver said they had fallen asleep while driving at least once in the month before the accident.
Just How Much Sleep is Enough?
If it is clear that not getting enough sleep can be deadly, it follows that it is important to know just how much sleep the average person needs. A study showed that teens and older drivers needed the most sleep, while those between the ages of 25 and 45 could get by on less sleep.
That said, drowsy driving was a cause of 7% of all accidents in which a vehicle had to be towed from the scene, 13% of all accidents resulting in the hospitalization of at least one person, and 21% of all fatal car accidents. If you have been involved in an accident caused by another driver falling asleep while driving, contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation today.