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AASM survey: 45% of U.S. adults have driven drowsy

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2019 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

It’s likely that many Virginia residents have driven drowsy at least once in recent days. In a Sleep Prioritization Survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 45% of the 2,003 U.S. adults involved admitted that they have had to struggle to stay awake while on the road.

Drowsiness, much like alcohol, impairs judgment and reaction times, and so drowsy driving is negligent and a public health concern. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, it is the cause of some 328,000 auto accidents every year in the U.S. Of these, 6,400 are fatal.

Drivers should know that regular, healthy sleep (at least seven hours a night) is the only real solution to drowsiness. If they suspect that they have a sleep disorder, they should see their doctor, who may refer them to a sleep specialist. Drivers should additionally be familiar with the symptoms of drowsiness. They include frequent yawning, trouble keeping one’s head up, trouble maintaining one’s lane and the missing of turns and road signs.

For long trips, drivers can have someone along to trade places with. If alone, drivers can pull over for a quick nap once they start struggling to keep their eyes open. Caffeine will provide a boost in attention, but only for a short time. Rolling down the windows never helps.

When motor vehicle accidents involve a driver who was clearly fatigued, then they give good grounds to victims for a personal injury claim. Virginia follows the rule of pure contributory negligence, though, which means victims of a crash cannot recover damages if they are deemed so much as 1% at fault. To see if their case holds up under this strict rule, victims may consult a lawyer. If it holds up, the lawyer may take care of each step, including negotiations.