There have been numerous campaigns launched to get the word out about the dangers of using a cell phone while driving, as well as efforts to prevent drunk driving. However, up until recently, the hazards of driving while sleepy have not been well documented. The reality is, sleepy drivers cause numerous serious car accidents every year, in Georgia and across the country.
A survey was recently conducted to gauge the tactics that tired drivers employ when they experience fatigue behind the wheel. While the responses included a variety of different remedies, surprisingly, less that 25 percent resorted to the most effective relief — sleep. Many drivers answered that they combat drowsiness by opening windows, turning up the air conditioning or belting out tunes along with the radio. More than half of the respondents resorted to ingesting caffeinated beverages to overcome sleepiness.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has complied figures that reflect the dangers that sleepy drivers pose to fellow travelers. There are approximately 100,000 accidents a year caused by tired drivers. These wrecks have led to well over 1,500 fatalities a year. However, these numbers are most likely much higher, since it is believed that drowsiness is often overlooked as a cause of many fatal accidents.
The survey also revealed the differences in attitudes toward sleepy driving between the older and younger generations, with younger drivers resorting to less-effective means to stay alert. In spite of the efforts to encourage safe driving practices, Georgia roadways will undoubtedly continue to be plagued by car accidents caused by the careless actions of drivers — including those who operate a motor vehicle without enough sleep. Those who suffer a serious injury in such a manner (or the families of those who are killed) have the legal right to pursue claims for financial redress against the party or parties deemed responsible for the collision.
Source: battlecreekenquirer.com, “Attention drowsy drivers: Turning up the a/c won’t work”, Gary Stoller, July 15, 2014