In neighboring La Porte, David Claxton dozed off at the wheel while approaching an intersection. It was midday, and he said that he had slept nine hours the previous night.
There are many reasons that a person may drive while drowsy – but other than a previously unknown medical condition, none are legitimate.
Drivers who operate motor vehicles while excessively sleepy are just as dangerous as drivers who drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol – so says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The most recent data from the NHTSA includes a report that studied crashes as a result of drowsy driving or fatigued driving.
While some studies claim that around 2% of crashes can be attributed to fatigue, other reputable sources, like the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, believe the number to be far higher.
AAA studied data from NHTSA and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They concluded that 16.5% of all fatal crashes were the result of drowsy driving, and researchers say that the numbers are rising.
Claxton crashed into a telephone pole; no one else was injured, but Claxton suffered broken bones and his vehicle was a total loss. While receiving medical treatment, Claxton learned that he had sleep apnea. He was able to seek treatment for the disorder.
Claxton is the exception, not the rule.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident and you suspect that the driver that hit you was drowsy or may have fallen asleep, please call Marshall P. Whalley immediately. Call 219-769-2900 to schedule a free consultation.
Drowsy driving causes 16.5%, or 5000+ crash deaths annually
It may seem like a new phenomenon, but it’s not. Nearly 10 years ago the state of Massachusetts formed a special commissioned to study the subject. They concluded that it’s possible that 1.2 million crashes – more than 8000 people per year – lose their lives to drowsy drivers.
While the exact number of crash fatalities cannot be known, the police are trained to look for signs of driver error that points to fatigue and statistical methodologies that indicate drowsiness was a factor.
Fatigue crashes most likely:
- Occur between 1am to 6am or in the late afternoon
- Feature a single driver with no passengers going off-road
- Include high rates of speed with no evidence of braking at the scene of the accident
- Involve rear-end and head-on crashes
The only way that drivers can avoid driver fatigue is to get more sleep – but many people think that short term measures like drinking strong coffee or energy drinks will help. Drivers might feel more alert, but the effects wear off quickly.
Be vigilant, watch for signs of fatigue
It is reasonable to assume that at some point you will engage with a sleep-deprived driver – but you can mitigate the damage that your family may suffer if you practice these defensive driving measures:
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Have an escape route
- Be vigilant during peak drowsy driving times
- Watch for drivers who engage with rumble strips or cross road lines
If a drowsy driver hits you or a loved one
If you are involved in a crash and you suspect that the other driver may be sleep-deprived or fatigued, please call Marshall P. Whalley immediately. Whalley & Associates has served the people of Indiana, Michigan and Illinois for more than 30 years. They are knowledgeable, trustworthy experts that are dedicated to helping victims obtain justice and full value compensation in both personal injury and wrongful death claims. Call the law offices of to schedule a free case evaluation.
Marshall P. Whalley & Associates, PC
5 West 112th Avenue
Crown Point, IN 46307