Auto accidents in DuPage County can have many different causes, including distracted driving, aggressive driving, and drunk driving. While more reports have been assessing the links between drowsy driving and car crashes in Illinois and throughout the country, a recent news release from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety discusses a study that suggests fatigued driving is to blame for far more collisions than we previously believed.
Whether you commute home to DuPage County from your office in Chicago after a long day of work or regularly take family road trips, it is important to understand the risks of drowsy driving and to learn more about the recent AAA study.
Study Uses Footage of Drivers to Gauge Sleepiness Behind the Wheel
In what the AAA Foundation is describing as “the most in-depth drowsy driving research ever conducted in the U.S.,” researchers used a new method to expose the rates of drowsy driving collisions in the country. Drowsy driving—unlike drunk driving, for instance—is notoriously hard to detect in the aftermath of a crash. Indeed, according to the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, we know that drowsy driving causes at least 100,000 crashes every year in which at least 40,000 people get hurt and 1,500 suffer fatal injuries. Yet as the Center underscores, a majority of drowsy driving crashes likely are “not properly counted.” Why is this? The answer is relatively simple: “it is hard to know for sure when someone is too tired to drive.”
Since there is no clear-cut test for measuring a motorist’s drowsiness (in the same way, for example, that a breathalyzer can be used to detect a driver’s blood alcohol content), most law enforcement officials have difficulty determining whether an individual involved in an accident was impaired due to drowsiness at the time of the crash. The recent study sought to do away with some of the vagueness associated with drowsiness and what level of fatigue makes someone too drowsy to drive safely. What method did they use? They installed video-recording dash cameras in vehicles pointed at the driver. This way, the video would show whether a motorist showed signs of fatigue in the minutes before an accident.
The in-vehicle dash cameras recorded video from more than 700 accidents. Researchers then looked at images of the motorists in the several minutes prior to the crash happening. They were looking to see whether the driver’s eyes closed more often than normal before the accident, suggesting that the driver was too tired to be behind the wheel safely.
Around 10 Percent of All Accidents May Be Caused By Drowsy Driving
The researchers found that a much higher number of crashes may result from drowsy driving than we previously expected. To be sure, based on the rate at which those 700 drivers closed their eyes in the three minutes before a crash occurred, the study determined that nearly 10 percent of all accidents are caused by drowsy driving. Why is this so significant? As the news release highlights, “federal estimates indicate drowsiness is a factor in only one to two percent of crashes.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 35 percent of Americans who drive do not get enough sleep each night. As such, many of those drivers are at risk of a serious or fatal accident. If you regularly drive in DuPage County, you know that difficulty keeping your eyes open or drifting from your lane are common signs of fatigue, indicating that you should pull over.
Contact a DuPage County Auto Accident Attorney
If a drowsy driver caused an accident and you got hurt, you should discuss your case with a passionate DuPage County auto accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC to learn more about how we can help with your case.
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