When a driver is tired and gets behind the wheel, that driver endangers not only himself, but other motorists and pedestrians traveling on the roadways as well. A drowsy driver may lose control over the vehicle and have impaired reaction time, resulting in a Sarasota auto accident. Alarmingly, statistics show that these accidents occur all too often. As many as 160 million drivers across the nation may drive a vehicle while drowsy each year.
A study by the National Sleep Foundation, entitled the Sleep in America poll, found that in 2005:
- 60% of adult drivers say that in the last year, they have gotten behind the wheel while feeling drowsy.
- Another 37%, amounting to 103 million people, admit to having actually fallen asleep while driving.
- 13% admit to driving while drowsy at least once per month.
- 4%, amounting to approximately 11 million drivers annually, report that they have been involved in an auto accident due to drowsy driving.
In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 auto accidents that are reported to the police are caused by driver fatigue every year. This results in approximately:
- 1,550 deaths
- 71,000 injuries
- $12.5 billion in financial losses
While these statistics are staggering, they may not even reveal the true extent of the problem. It is difficult to collect accurate data on driver fatigue, because:
- there is no test that can be administered
- police are not trained to identify drowsy driving
- relying on accident victims to self-report is unreliable
- other accident causing factors may overshadow fatigue