Stressful jobs, familial responsibilities, and other challenges make it difficult for many busy New Yorkers to get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. As a result of this lack of sleep, fatigued or drowsy driving has become a common cause of New York accidents. According to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, fatigued or drowsy driving was a factor in over 2,300 New York accidents in 2017.
Why is drowsy driving so dangerous?
Research has shown that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Fatigue can cause:
- Slowed reaction times.
- Inability to pay attention.
- Inability to make sound decisions.
Who is at risk for drowsy driving?
Every driver is at risk for drowsy driving but some people are more vulnerable than others. Some of the highest risk groups include:
- People who work the night shift (e.g., nurses and police officers).
- People with untreated sleep disorders (e.g., narcolepsy).
- Young people (particularly men aged 18 to 29).
- People on medications with a side effect of drowsiness.
Drivers should be aware of the signs of drowsy driving (e.g., difficulty keeping eyes open, yawning, or drifting between lanes) and pull over if they notice that they are tired. A driver who ignores these signs and continues driving may be more likely to cause a car accident. Drowsy driving is a form of driver negligence and drivers who cause an accident after falling asleep behind the wheel could be held liable for accident-related injuries and damages.