Drowsy Driving Accidents in Queen Anne’s County
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, a significant percentage of drivers in the United States report having fallen asleep at the wheel. Whether drivers are actually falling asleep while driving or show signs of drowsy driving, including having trouble focusing or concentrating, it can have a serious impact on their safety and the safety of other drivers on the road.
In 2014, the AAA Foundation conducted a study of the impact that drowsy drivers have on the road. Of the total number of fatal car accidents, drowsy drivers were involved in approximately 21 percent of the wrecks; a five percent increase from 2010. The Foundation released another report in 2016 that looked at the connection between a lack of sleep and accident risk and discovered that, even with one to two hours less than the recommended seven hours of sleep, the accident risk increased significantly.
Drowsy Driving Facts and Figures
Due to the increasing number of drowsy driving car accidents that occur in this country, the Foundation considers it to be one of the most serious, and unrecognized traffic safety hazards in the United States. The following are some eye-opening facts about drowsy driving:
- Close to 40 percent of drivers say that they fell asleep at the wheel at least once, and 11 percent report that they fell asleep while driving within the past year.
- Drowsy driving was involved in one in five fatal accidents.
- Each year, drowsy driving caused approximately 328,000 car accidents, involving 109 injuries and 6,400 fatalities.
- Men are twice as likely to be in a drowsy driving crash than women.
- In over half of all drowsy driving wrecks, the driver drifted out of their lane or off the road.
- People who get five to six hours of sleep, compared to the recommended seven hours, are almost two times more likely to be in an accident.
Drowsy Driving Risk Factors
It is difficult to always get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. While anyone can be at risk of falling asleep at the wheel, the National Sleep Foundation has determined that the following groups of people are at a greater risk:
- Drivers who have had less than six hours of sleep are three times more likely to cause a car accident than those who have had at least seven hours of sleep.
- Long-haul drivers, and other people in the transportation industry, are at a greater risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
- People who have chronic sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, are seven times more likely to fall asleep at the wheel.
- Anyone who is taking medications that are known to cause drowsiness, including antidepressants, sleeping pills, and antihistamines.
- People who work 60 hours per week or more are at a 40 percent greater risk of falling asleep while driving.
Law enforcement faces the difficulty of proving that drowsy driving caused an accident. Police can use breathalyzer tests to prove that a driver has alcohol in their system, or secure cell phone records to confirm that the driver was talking or texting at the time of the accident. However, there is not a comparable test that can prove that a driver was drowsy. However, law enforcement can analyze skid marks, check employment records to see if the driver had worked long hours without sleep, check traffic cameras, and obtain witness testimonies from people at the scene who may have seen the driver swerve or show signs of nodding off.
Queen Anne’s County Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Drowsy Driving Car Accidents
If you have been seriously injured in a drowsy driving car accident, the Queen Anne’s County car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are on your side. Driving while drowsy threatens the safety of others on the road, and our highly experienced team will take the necessary steps to secure the financial compensation you deserve, and ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable for their actions. To schedule a free consultation with the right lawyer, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, which includes the towns of Barclay, Centreville, Church Hill, Millington, Queen Anne, Queenstown, Sudlersville, and Templeville.