Almost everybody in America is overly tired, these days. In a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey taken in 2014, approximately one out of every 25 drivers admitted that they’d fallen asleep behind the wheel of their vehicle in the prior 30-day period.
Just the same, the true number of drowsy drivers out there — people so exhausted that they may actually fall asleep while their vehicle is in motion — is largely unknown. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) says that there’s no organized system for tracking the number of accidents caused by drowsy drivers. Just the same, at least 91,000 incidents of drowsy driving were reported by police in 2017 alone.
How much difference does an hour or two of sleep make?
In a 2016 study, researchers found that crash rates increased with every hour a driver loses sleep. Drivers who get only four or five hours of sleep before they hit the road (as opposed to a minimum of seven) are involved in wrecks at about the same rate or higher than drivers who are legally intoxicated.
It’s estimated that drowsy driving costs society about $109 billion in damages — excluding what’s done to vehicles and other property — every year. While there are regulations in place that are designed to cut down on drowsy driving, many trucking companies and drivers will skirt those regulations whenever possible. If you were injured in a truck wreck, find out what rights you have to compensate for your losses.