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Young Motorists Underestimate Drowsy Driving Risks

Friday, September 21, 2012

A new study finds that young drivers are less likely to view drowsy driving as dangerous, as compared to drunk driving. This is in spite of the fact that there is enough evidence to indicate that both impaired driving as well as drowsy driving are equally dangerous as causes for auto accidents.

Recent research by the National Safety Council that was published in the Journal of Safety Research finds that young drivers have lackadaisical attitudes about the risks of drowsy driving. This is in spite of the fact that young drivers are at a much higher risk of fatigued driving and drowsy driving-related accidents than older drivers.

This category of drivers is at a much higher risk of being involved in an accident caused by sleep deprivation, as well as alcohol use. However, while young drivers seem to be fairly attuned to the risks of impaired driving, and an overwhelming majority of them believe that driving while drunk increases accident rates, they do not seem to have the same kind of attitudes when it comes to driving while fatigued.

In fact, as Burbank car accident lawyers have found, drowsy driving and distracted driving seem to be fairly underestimated by young drivers as far as their dangers are concerned.

Federal and state transportation agencies are at least partly to blame for these attitudes. They simply have not made enough of an effort to educate young drivers about the need to drive only after they have had plenty of rest. Young drivers have more hectic social lives, and consequently, may suffer from sleep deprivation. Getting enough sleep may not be high on their priority list.

That's all the more reason why safety initiatives pushing for measures against fatigued driving, should be focusing on young drivers. That doesn't seem to be happening.

FMCSA Advisers Recommend Sleep Apnea Screening Standards to Prevent Accidents

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Advisers for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are increasing pressure on the agency to establish stronger screening standards for the detection of sleep apnea among truck drivers. The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board are specifically recommending that the agency require medical examiners to test truck drivers with a body mass index of 35 and above for sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea-linked truck driver fatigue has received a lot of attention as one of the primary safety issues facing the trucking industry. Several studies have confirmed that sleep apnea is associated with obesity. San Fernando valley truck accident lawyers have found that truck drivers are at a high risk of obesity because of their lifestyle, which includes poor diet and lack of exercise. In fact, the incidence of sleep apnea in the truck driver population is higher than in the general population.

Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person suffers from respiratory interruptions at night, and as a result, suffers from fatigue and lethargy in the daytime. A person who suffers from sleep apnea is constantly tired and drowsy. A truck driver like this is more likely to doze off at the wheel, increasing the risks of an accident. In fact, truck drivers who suffer from sleep apnea are at a 242% higher risk of being involved in an accident compared to those who do not suffer from the sleep disorder.

Now, the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board are advising the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to modify its guidance to include requirements that would immediately disqualify truck drivers who fall asleep at the wheel, or are involved in causing an accident while they are driving under the influence of fatigue. The committees are also advising that drivers with a body mass index of 35 and above be screened for sleep apnea, because recent research has found that body mass index is a primary indicator of the presence of sleep apnea. Typically, the higher the person's body mass index, the higher the risk of sleep apnea. By screening overweight truck drivers for sleep apnea, trucking companies would be able to detect the condition as quickly as possible, and place the driver in a treatment program.

32% of Drivers Admit to Drowsy Driving

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Close to 96% of all motorists in a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety believe that driving while drowsy is unacceptable.  However, that doesn't stop 32% of them from driving while drowsy anyway.  One out of every 3 drivers in the survey admitted to driving while fatigued when they were so tired they could barely keep their eyes open.

Last year, a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drowsy driving was linked to one out of every six fatal accidents, and one out of every eight seriously injurious accidents.   That survey really revealed to Los Angeles car accident attorneys the extent to which the public and transportation safety agencies have underestimated the role of drowsy driving in accidents.

Part of the problem is that there are no measures or indicators to identify drowsy driving, such as those that exist for intoxicated driving or speeding. There are no devices and indicators to help reveal whether a person is too drowsy drive.

In many accidents caused by drowsy driving, motorists fail to mention to police officers that they dozed off at the wheel, for obvious reasons. In fact, Los Angeles car accident lawyers suspect that the actual number of people being killed in accidents caused by sleepy drivers is much higher than we currently know.

This week, the National Sleep Foundation wants Americans to wake up to the dangers of drowsy driving. The Foundation is marking National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, hoping for more discussion about avoiding driving while fatigued. 

Studies indicate that a person driving without sleep for twenty hours is just as impaired as someone driving with a BAC level of .08%. We have zero tolerance for intoxicated driving, and have fairly successfully promoted a culture that finds drunk driving abhorrent. We need to promote the same mindset for drowsy driving too.


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