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Report Shows Over Half of Drowsy Driving Accidents Caused by Drivers Under 25

young female driver sleeping in vehicle

While drunk driving remains a leading cause of fatal car accidents in the United States, hundreds of thousands of car accidents every year are caused by tired, drowsy drivers. Recent reports from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that drowsy driving remains a significant problem in the U.S. and that these crashes are disproportionately caused by younger drivers. Read on to learn about the study, and contact an experienced Poughkeepsie car accident attorney if you or a loved one has been injured in a Hudson Valley car accident caused by a drowsy driver.

Drowsy Driving Statistics 2017: Drowsy drivers cause thousands of accidents a year

According to GHSA, there are an average of 328,000 drowsy-driving related accidents per year across the U.S., 109,000 of which have led to injury. There are 6,400 car crashes per year with fatalities that are connected to drowsy driving. These accidents disproportionately occur on rural roads and often involve single vehicles leaving the roadway without signs of braking. More than half of drowsy driving crashes involve drivers who were aged 25 and under.

Although NHTSA reported that there were 803 drowsy-driving related deaths in 2016, the GHSA report emphasizes that there is consensus among researchers that drowsy driving is severely underreported. However, per NHTSA, drunk driving remains a leading cause of auto traffic fatalities in the U.S.; there were 10,497 traffic fatalities caused by drunk drivers across the country in 2016, according to the federal traffic safety agency.

The effects of drowsy driving and prevention

GHSA reports that lack of sleep can mimic the effects of drinking: 18 hours without sleep affects cognition similarly to having a 0.05% Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), while going 24 hours without sleep is like having a 0.10% BAC, which id over the legal driving limit in all states. NHTSA reports that even after a cup of coffee, a drowsy driver can have “microsleeps” for a few seconds, which is plenty of time to cause an accident. Per NHTSA, one to two cups of coffee, combined with a 20-minute nap at a safe, designated rest stop, can increase alertness on the road, but only for a short period of time. Getting consistent rest (six to eight hours of sleep a night) is the best method to avoid drowsy driving accidents.

New York’s prevention efforts

New York crash reports monitor the causes of crashes and include “fatigued/drowsy” and “fell asleep” as possible causes. The New York State Partnership Against Drowsy Driving (NYPDD), in concert with the state Department of Health, DMV, and various other associations, conduct awareness campaigns to reduce the pervasiveness of drowsy-driving accidents.

A driver who falls asleep at the wheel and causes an accident with other motorists or pedestrians could face legal liability in personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in New York caused by drowsy driving or other negligent behavior, call the effective and knowledgeable Hudson Valley personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Taran M. Provost, PLLC for a free consultation at 845-675-3243.

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