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Drowsy Driving: How Much of a Problem Is It?

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2020 | Car Accidents

You may have been involved in a crash with a drowsy driver, and now you’re wondering if you can file a claim here in North Carolina. First, it would be a good idea to know in what way drowsy driving is dangerous.

Drowsiness impairs judgment and reactions

Fatigue can make drivers three times more likely to crash. If they drive after being awake for 20 hours straight, it won’t be surprising if they’re pulled over for suspected DUI. This is because they’ll act like someone with a blood alcohol concentration of .08, which is the legal limit in this state.

When drivers fail to achieve the recommended seven or eight hours of sleep a day, they become slow in their reactions and inattentive. It may get so bad that they experience four- to five-second bursts of inattention called microsleep. At highway speed, drivers in microsleep will travel the length of a football field as if they were blind.

How common are drowsy driving crashes?

There are some 100,000 police-reported drowsy driving crashes every year, but since drowsy drivers can escape detection, the number of crashes is higher, as the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety puts it at 328,000 each year. Of these, an estimated 109,000 end in injury and 6,400 in death.

Fifty percent or more of drowsy driving crashes involve drivers under 25, a sizeable portion being male. Parents of teen drivers may help reduce the number of crashes, though, by setting up clear rules against drowsy driving. Universities may do their part with educational programs aimed at their students, many of whom don’t even get six hours of sleep.

A lawyer to protect your rights

While North Carolina operates under an at-fault system, it does follow the strict rule of contributory negligence. This means that victims of car crashes must not have contributed even slightly to the crash; otherwise, they cannot recover damages. To see how your case holds up to this, you could schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer.