Crash Risks Rise With Sleep Deprivation, AAA Study Reports

Most Americans are well aware of the dangers that accompany drunk or distracted driving. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true of driving while tired. In a place like New York, where many people are constantly on the go and working long hours, missing out on sleep is often a part of life. According to a new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, however, missing even a few hours of sleep can make drivers just as dangerous as those who are legally too drunk to drive.

In a newly released report that analyzed crash data and existing studies on driver fatigue, researchers concluded that the risks of driving while tired are comparable to driving drunk. Their findings included:

  • The less sleep a driver gets, the higher the crash risks.
  • Four to five hours of sleep results in crash risks comparable to a BAC level at or above the legal limit.
  • Drivers who get five or six hours of sleep are twice as likely to crash as drivers who get seven or more hours of sleep.

Because statistics have shown that 20% of fatal traffic crashes in the U.S. involve a tired driver, safety organizations are placing an emphasis on better understanding the driving risks associated with sleep deprivation. New studies can shed light on how affected drivers are after losing sleep and can aid in educating drivers about the dangers. They can also aid in better regulating commercial drivers – including taxicab and truck drivers – and safety rules that mandate rest breaks.

The solutions to driver fatigue may not be as simple as avoiding distractions or avoiding drinks before getting behind the wheel, but they can help educate the public about the importance of getting adequate rest before hitting the road. Researchers have noted that pulling over and taking a nap during long commutes can help, as well as making up a sleep deficit by sleeping more the next night or during the day to ensure that they get enough rest in a 24-hour period.

Victims injured in collisions caused by others have the legal right to pursue financial compensation for their damages, including their medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car accident, pedestrian accident, or bicycle accident, our team at Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices can help you better understand your rights.

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