Many people don’t think of drowsy driving as a major cause of accidents, and that needs to change. Young people are often told to never drive drunk, but many don’t even think about pulling over or deciding not to drive when they are too tired.
Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (PRWEB) November 21, 2012
Michigan car accident attorney Thomas L. Stroble said today that a new report showing young people are more likely to stay behind the wheel while drowsy should serve as a wake-up call about the hazards of fatigued driving for motorists of all ages.
“With Thanksgiving kicking off the holiday travel season this week, more college students and other young drivers will be hitting the road to visit friends and family,” Stroble said. “They and everyone else who drives need to take steps to avoid the very real and very dangerous prospect of nodding off while driving and causing an accident.”
Stroble, who represents victims of car accidents with The Stroble Law Firm, P.C., a Bloomfield Hills personal injury law firm, was referring to a new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that was released in conjunction with the National Sleep Foundation’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week last week.
The AAA study revealed that 1 in 7 drivers aged 16-24 admitted to nodding off behind the wheel in the year prior to the survey. When surveying all licensed drivers, only 1 in 10 reported nodding off.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is working to bring attention to the problem of drowsy driving. “In preparation for the holiday driving season and with many young drivers heading home for Thanksgiving break, AAA is drawing attention to this often overlooked crash risk that is a serious threat to everyone's safety on the road,” AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet said in a press release.
Stroble, the Michigan personal injury lawyer, said that there are many reasons young people may be more likely than others to drive when they’re tired. “Teenagers and young adults today have a lot on their plate, with school and sports and jobs and extracurricular activities. They also may not fully grasp how dangerous fatigued driving is,” he said.
The risks associated with driving while too tired are significant. To emphasize the dangers, the National Sleep Foundation compiled statistics from a variety of sources, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the data, approximately 100,000 reported crashes each year are caused by drowsy driving. The crashes result in approximately 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries. The collective loss totals $12.5 billion.
Stroble cautioned that the figures might not tell the whole story. “Of course, there’s no test for being tired. Drivers may not admit they were nodding off, and often it comes down to the words of witnesses and the evidence collected by accident reconstruction experts to show fatigue was a contributing factor in a car crash.”
Driving while fatigued is a serious mistake and can lead to disastrous results. A driver who falls asleep no longer has control of the vehicle, making head-on collisions and other serious crashes a real possibility, he said.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that drowsy drivers are more likely to exhibit other behaviors that cause accidents. For example, the Sleep in America poll revealed that 42 percent of respondents become stressed while driving fatigued, 32 percent become impatient, and 12 percent tend to increase their speed.
“Drowsy driving is a major public health risk, on par with drunk driving,” Stroble said. “Many people don’t think of drowsy driving as a major cause of accidents, and that needs to change. Young people are often told to never drive drunk, but many don’t even think about pulling over or deciding not to drive when they are too tired.”
Darbelnet, the AAA president and CEO, said the effects of drunk driving and drowsy driving are actually quite similar. “Research shows that fatigue impairs safe driving, with many symptoms causing drivers to behave in ways similar to those who are intoxicated,” he said in a press release.
Stroble advised drivers of all ages to be aware of the warning signs of fatigued driving. These include difficulty concentrating; blinking frequently; heavy eyelids; wandering thoughts; difficulty remembering the last few miles driven; missed signs or exits; repeated yawning; a nodding head; drifting; and feeling restless and irritable.
“If you start to feel tired, you need to get off the road and get some rest,” Stroble urged. “It’s better to arrive late than not at all.”
He urged anyone injured in a car accident that involved a drowsy driver to talk to an experienced Michigan car accident lawyer like the ones at The Stroble Law Firm.
About The Stroble Law Firm, P.C.
The Stroble Law Firm, P.C., is a full-service law firm based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., which represents car accident victims and their families throughout the state of Michigan, including Macomb County, Oakland County, Warren, Clinton Township, Sterling Heights, St. Clair Shores, Mount Clemens, Utica, Roseville, Troy, Farmington Hills, Waterford, Southfield, Pontiac, Birmingham, Rochester Hills, West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills. The firm’s personal injury practice areas also include truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, birth injuries, slips and falls, dog bites and wrongful death cases. The firm’s Bloomfield Hills office is located at 2525 Telegraph Road, Suite 100, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302 (local phone (248) 454-0800). To learn more about The Stroble Law Firm, P.C., call (248) 454-0800 or (888) 454-0801 or use the firm’s online contact form.