October 11, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- There are millions of car accidents each year, causing serious injuries and deaths not only in Michigan, but also across the whole country. Many different driver behaviors cause accidents, including driving while distracted (by electronic gadgets or more mundane behaviors like eating and grooming), driving recklessly, speeding and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Another major cause of crashes is often disregarded, but nonetheless results in more than 100,000 motor vehicle accidents annually: driving while fatigued.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF)
recognizes the scope of the driving while fatigued/"drowsy driving" problem in America, and has devoted resources solely to increasing awareness of the issue. Their upcoming annual public education campaign, "National Drowsy Driving Awareness Week" (November 3 through November 10), aims to spread the word about the "hidden" epidemic of driving while fatigued, and ways in which drivers can stay both alert and alive on the nation's roadways.
Recent scientific studies have shown that being fatigued has a much bigger impact on a driver than previously thought. For example, being awake for 18 hours before climbing behind the wheel produces the same impairment, slowed reaction times and poor judgment as having a .05 blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Once a driver has been up for 24 hours prior to driving, his or her impairment level doubles, and is akin to a .10 BAC, well over Michigan's legal limit for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).
While there is no one singular cause behind the 100,000 or more drowsy driving-related car accidents
each year, there are several theories, including:
- Shift workers (or those in other professions, including long-haul trucking, medicine and emergency responders) where the hours are long and it can be hard to establish a sleep schedule
- Drivers taking medications like over-the-counter allergy or cold medicines being unaware of the level of intoxicating effect these drugs have and then getting behind the wheel
- Taking sleeping pills without having adequate time to rest while the body processes the drug
The issue of sleeping pills relating to drowsy driving car and truck accidents
the next morning has actually led the Food and Drug Administration to issue a "black box" warning to the makers of the drug Ambien (and its generic equivalent Zolpidem) to lower the doses given to women. This is because women's bodies tend to metabolize the drug slower than men do and were suffering intoxicating effects of the drug hours after they awoke, something that could easily have led to car accidents or other mishaps.
Are you a victim?
Have you - or a loved one - been involved in a car accident with a drowsy driver? Do you want more information about holding the fatigued driver responsible for his actions? For more information about your legal rights and options following an injury-causing car accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.
Article provided by Joseph T. Barberi, P.C.
Visit us at www.josephbarberi.com