Motor vehicle accidents almost always occur due to driver error. We have seen car accidents resulting from driver inattention, texting and driving, drinking and driving, inexperienced drivers and simple neglect. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently published a stunning article about the hazards of “drowsy driving” – where drivers hurtling down the road in a 2000 lbs. vehicle fall asleep at the wheel putting everyone in their path at risk. What is so shocking about the CDC article is how often drowsy driving occurs.
The CDC report cites stats from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showing that 2.5% of fatal motor vehicle crashes (approximately 730 in 2009) and 2.0% of all crashes with nonfatal injuries (approximately 30,000 in 2009) involve sleepy drivers. However, recognizing that it is not always possible to know if a car accident involved a drowsy driver, other studies have estimated that 15% to 33% of fatal crashes involve drowsy drivers. According to the CDC, fatalities and injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, are more likely in motor vehicle accidents that involve drowsy driving.
Most alarmingly, the CDC study included a survey of 147,076 respondents in 19 states and the District of Columbia (DC) that showed that 4.2% reported having fallen asleep while driving at least one time during the previous 30 days. According to the CDC “