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Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Most drivers have been in a situation in which they were too fatigued to drive safely. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are at least 100,000 accidents every year caused by drowsy driving.

These are only those accidents that were reported to police, and in which drowsy driving was confirmed to be a factor. The actual number of accidents caused by drowsy motorists is likely to be much higher, simply because many motorists are unlikely to admit at the scene of an accident that they dozed off at the wheel, or were fatigued. Drowsy driving causes more than 6,000 accident fatalities every year.

Automakers are focusing on bringing attention to the problem, and in fact, the 2015 Nisan Murano will roll out with a brand-new drowsy driving detection system. The system will analyze the driver’s steering patterns to detect drowsiness. When the system detects signs of drowsiness, it will issue an audible and visual alert that will flash on the car’s instrument panel.

This sounds like an exciting, promising technology, but until such time that such technology is available on all automobiles, take steps to reduce your risks of drowsy driving. Look out for these signs of drowsiness, and stop somewhere safe for some sleep before you resume driving.

  • Frequent yawning
  • Wandering thoughts
  • Inability to focus on the road ahead
  • Heaviness in the head
  • Frequent dozing off
  • Inability to recall or remember the last few minutes of driving
  • Frequently veering off your lane
  • Missing traffic signs or signals
  • Having difficulty keeping your eyes open

If you notice any of these signs, take a break as quickly as possible. Pull over somewhere safe and take a nap. Quick fixes like caffeine can help avoid sleeplessness for some time, but the best antidote to drowsiness is sleep.

New Campaign Will Target Drowsy Driving

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Federal and California state administrations have made great strides in reducing drunk driving, and even distracted driving through the use of stronger legislation, enforcement initiatives, and awareness campaigns. However, the risks of drowsy driving have been ignored. One reason for this is that there is very limited research on these risks, and how to prevent these.

Now the federal administration has decided to spotlight the dangers of drowsy driving, and has launched a new campaign that will specifically focus on increasing public awareness about drowsy driving. It is a challenging task. For one thing, it isn't easy to measure drowsiness at the scene of an accident. It is not possible to tell whether a person was driving while sleepy at the scene.

That is in sharp contrast to a drunk driving accident, in which you can administer a test that will immediately help you determine if the person was driving under the influence of alcohol. Even when a person is in a distracted driving accident, it is possible to recover the cell phone records of the other motorist at the accident scene to determine whether texting was a factor in the crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the campaign will focus on developing strategies that will target those motorists who are especially vulnerable to the dangers of drowsy driving. For instance, senior citizens are at a higher risk of drowsy driving, because they may be under the influence of more than one medication. The agency will also look more closely at technologies like lane departure warning systems. These technologies have a great role to play in helping prevent drowsy driving. One of the first signs of drowsy driving is that your car begins to move from your lane frequently. A lane departure warning system will alert you when you are dozing off at the wheel, and when your car begins to veer off from the lane, possibly averting an accident.

For help filing a car accident claim, call a Burbank car accident attorney.

Drowsy Driving Linked to Failure to Buckle up, Binge Drinking

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Binge drinkers and persons who fail to buckle up while driving are much more likely to be involved in drowsy driving accidents.

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines a number of risk factors for drowsy driving accidents. One of those factors is binge drinking. Drowsy driving is likely to be much more common among binge drinkers than those who drink moderately, or those who abstain from alcohol.

Additionally, persons who drive while drowsy are much less likely to wear their seatbelts. In fact, these people are likely to report only sometimes wearing their seatbelts, or never bothering to buckle up while driving or riding in a car. Persons with a lower risk of drowsy driving seem to be much more likely to buckle up while driving.

According to the CDC report, as many as 7,500 fatal accidents every year are likely linked to drowsy driving. Between 2009 and 2010, 4.2% of adult respondents in a study reported that they had driven while drowsy on at least one occasion during the previous month. If you have less than six hours of sleep a day, snore in your sleep or fall asleep during the daytime, you have a much higher risk of reporting drowsy driving.

Apart from the obvious lack of sleep deprivation that leads to such driving, prescription drug use is another much neglected factor in drowsy driving. If you are on medications like antihypertensives, antidepressants, cough and cold medications, antihistamines, or a number of other medications including over-the-counter drugs that induce drowsiness, you are at a much higher risk of driving while sleepy or fatigued. That increases your risk of being involved in a potentially serious accident.

Medication Use Amplifies Accident Risks for Senior Drivers

Friday, May 02, 2014

Side effects from medications can increase the risk of accidents for senior motorists in Burbank. An overwhelming majority of senior motorists are on at least one medication and many of them are on more than one medication. That means that many of them may be at risk of driving while drowsy, fatigued, incoherent, confused, disoriented, or suffering from other side effects.

Financial difficulties, and decimated pension plans have forced many seniors to postpone their retirement plans. Many of them continue to remain in the workforce, which means more numbers of them driving. According to an AAA Foundation study, older motorists are much more likely to suffer from a medical condition, and take medications to manage these. The use of multiple medications is very high among this group of motorists. More than 90% of senior motorists are on some prescription medication, and two- thirds of those are on more than two medications.

However, senior motorists show a strong and admirable tendency to self -police their own driving. Those who use medications or had a medical condition were much more likely to report that they had reduced their daily travel with more than three- quarters of drivers above the age of 65 admitting to this. Many of them also drive for fewer days each week, and also avoid driving at night when it is much riskier to drive.

Senior motorists must discuss their medication plan with their doctors, and ask for alternatives to medications that increase the risk of impaired driving. Be clearly aware of the kind of side effects that are linked to the prescription drugs that you are on. Try to restrict your driving to the daytime, or take routes that are less busy.

Texting Increases Teen Drowsy Driving Accident Risks

Friday, October 18, 2013

Teenagers, and especially college students, may already be at a much higher risk of fatigue, sleepiness and drowsiness, because of an overall lower quantity of sleep. That sleep-deprived state may worsen considerably, because of excessive texting.

According to a new study, college students may have a much harder time falling asleep, if they are texting. In fact, according to the researchers, college students who want to sleep better must consider avoiding texting just before they hit the pillow.

The research found that college students who were experiencing stress, or texting more often, were more likely to have trouble falling asleep. Not only were these people struggling with insomnia, they were also taking a much longer time to fall asleep, and also sleeping less overall, compared to persons who did not text a lot before falling asleep. These students were also likely to spend less time sleeping while they were in bed, and feel lethargic and fatigued throughout the next day increasing their risk of a car accident.

College students who were already stressed seemed to be at an especially high risk of sleep-related troubles due to texting. The problem is that many college students have the habit of texting on their cell phones well into the late hours of the night, even after they are in bed. In other words, these people do not prioritize going to sleep as soon as they hit the bed. They spend many minutes texting on their cell phones, before they finally doze off. That affects the quality of their sleep, and ensures that they get much less sleep than they require. Often, students feel pressured to answer incoming texts, no matter how sleepy they are.

In order to improve the quality of your sleep, and reduce the risk of drowsy driving, switch off your cell phones and text alerts as soon as you hit the pillow.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.