Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving and sometimes it can be even worse. Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transport Institute (VTTI) conducted a study on motor vehicle crashes and found out that driver drowsiness contributes to 20% of collisions and 16% of near-collisions. VTTI equipped 100 cars with cameras to monitor drivers who were given no special instruction throughout the course of the research. Results of the study suggested that drowsy driving was one of the major causes of car accidents. However, some databases stated that fatigue-related collisions were under 10% of total crashes.
Even more alarming is the VTTI discovery that drowsiness can trigger accidents all day, as compared to typical cases of fatigue driving usually prevalent during early mornings or late evenings. The study also shows that drivers between the ages 18 and 20 were more likely to get involved in car accidents related to drowsy driving. Researchers explained that this can be attributed to the student's habit of staying up late, either to socialize or study, then getting on the road early the next day for work or school. Older drivers also experience this routine, although their driving skills compensate for their lack of sleep.
Previous studies reveal similar findings
This is not the first time that lack of sleep was seen as a threat to road safety. This is one reason Kentucky motorists should stay alert while behind the wheel. In 2012, the Archives of Internal Medicine published results of a study they spearheaded saying drivers who were either sleepy or drunk were at least twice as likely to be involved in a car accident as compared to their well-rested counterparts. Police reports and driver questionnaires were analyzed by the researchers led by Dr. Nicholas Moore at the Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire de Bordeaux in France. Moore and his team found that being sleepy and drinking alcohol can both be associated to increased car accident risks among drivers ages 18 to 29.
KSP focuses on drowsy drivers, among others
Meanwhile, here in Kentucky, the Kentucky State Police (KSP) switches focus of their grant this year. The KSP is usually on the look-out for aggressive drivers, but this time they’re on a mission to make Kentucky interstates safer by cracking down on fatigued drivers. Fatigued drivers can be challenging to spot. However, police have some actions that they keep an eye out for. They look for swerving and driving at an inconstant speed just to name a few. If they believe a driver is drowsy driving, they will pull them over. It's hard to believe that drowsy driving and driving drunk are similar, but it's true. They are both dangerous, and that is why police are on the lookout. They want to keep everyone safe.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I understand that there are instances when we get so busy that the 24 hours we have in a day just does not seem like enough time. Despite that, please don’t ever risk your safety. If you feel tired, take a nap before getting behind the wheel. You could also ask another family member or a friend to drive you to your destination. This will help keep you and others on the road safe.