Do you know the three most dangerous Ds in driving? And did you know they are all preventable?
There's drunken driving…
There's distracted driving…
And there's drowsy driving.
The third one gets way too little attention from government agencies and the public.
What's more, much of the data we have on the magnitude of the problem is conflicting.
First, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving annually in the U.S., resulting in approximately 1,550 fatalities and 70,000 injuries.
Next, data from the National Transportation Safety Board suggests that up to 1.2 million car accidents are related to drowsy driving and claim 4,000 to 7,000 lives a year.
And then there is this information from the National Safety Council, "a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that 328,000 drowsy driving crashes occur annually. That's more than three times the police-reported number. The same study found that 109,000 of those drowsy driving crashes resulted in an injury, and about 6,400 were fatal. The researchers suggest the prevalence of drowsy driving fatalities is more than 350% greater than reported."
Scary stuff regardless of which data is correct, right?
So how do we get an accurate handle on the extent of the problem, and how do we reduce the number of sleepy drivers causing these car accidents?
First – law enforcement personnel in Connecticut and across the nation need to be taught how to spot drowsy driver syndrome and report it consistently. There are a number of apparent signs…here are two:
• Often, a drowsy driver is in a one-car accident.
• And often there are no skid marks before the collision.
So how do we reduce the number of such car accidents in Connecticut?
Public education is a place to start – with a focus on groups of drivers most vulnerable to the problem (e.g., young people (ages 16 to 29), especially males; shift workers whose sleep is disrupted by working at night or working long or irregular hours; people with untreated sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) and narcolepsy).
Technology is another solution… several auto companies are now deploying technology that can sense when a driver is falling asleep and sound an alarm to wake the driver.
If you or a loved one are ever in a car accident in Connecticut, know that the Connecticut car accident lawyers at RisCassi & Davis have been assisting people like you who've been injured in these accidents for over 60 years. And we have received both state and national recognition for our work in this area. If you are ever injured in an accident of any kind and would like a free consultation with one of our Connecticut injury lawyers, please contact us. There is no obligation.