Research: drowsy driving causes 10 percent of all crashes

With interstates on three sides of Edwardsville, we know that highway crashes often result in severe injuries and, in far too many cases, fatalities. Experts say that the risks of motor vehicle collisions, injuries and deaths rise dramatically when drivers combine speed with distractions or impairment.

Another common cause of crashes that is starting to receive attention that has long been due: drowsy driving. A recent AAA study indicates that the percentage of auto accidents involving drowsiness is nearly eight times higher than previously believed.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study of thousands of drivers, using in-vehicle cameras trained on drivers’ heads and faces. Their report shows that fatigue and drowsiness are underreported crash causes.

“Drowsy driving is a bigger traffic safety issue than federal estimates show,” said the foundation’s president. “Drivers who don’t get enough sleep are putting everyone on the road at risk. By conducting an in-depth analysis using video of everyday drivers, we can now better assess if a driver was fatigued in the moments leading up to a crash.”

Researchers monitored 3,500 drivers for months as they drove their vehicles. Those drivers were involved in about 700 crashes during the study.

Once the video and data was analyzed, researchers concluded that 9.5 percent of all crashes involve drowsy drivers. Federal accident data indicates that only 1 to 2 percent of motor vehicle accidents are attributed to drowsy driving.

Researchers also stated that 10.8 percent of crashes resulting in significant property damage involved drowsiness.

Past research has indicated that truck drivers on long hauls are especially at danger of driving while they are drowsy. Truckers who do so put not only themselves and their passengers at risk, of course, but everyone with whom they share the highways, streets and roads.

Contact an attorney experienced in personal injury litigation to discuss your situation.