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Drowsy Driving Accidents on the Rise in California

A man yawning while driving

Drowsy or fatigued driving has become a growing cause of traffic accidents across the United States, joining alcohol and drugs as a leading factor in traffic fatalities. Federal estimates had previously indicated that one to two percent of crashes involved drowsy drivers, but recent studies suggest that the problem is much worse–nearly ten percent of all crashes involve drowsy drivers. Continue reading for details about the growing drowsy driving epidemic in California and nationwide, and contact an experienced Glendale car accidents lawyer if you or a loved one has been injured by a drowsy driver in Los Angeles County.

AAA report says nearly 10% of accidents are connected to drowsy driving

The American Automobile Association (AAA) conducted an investigation into driving habits by placing cameras and other monitoring equipment in over 3,500 cars in six locations across the U.S. and following the drivers for several months between October 2010 and December 2013. Many of the drivers got into accidents (there were 701 crashes), and investigators were able to perceive the drivers nodding off just before many of them. The investigation found that, of the accidents, 9.5 percent involved drowsy drivers. This proportion is significantly higher than previous estimates issued by government agencies, which ranged from one to four percent, likely based on the difficulties in ascertaining after a crash whether a driver was drowsy.

In a separate analysis of data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), AAA found that seven percent of all traffic accidents involved drowsy drivers and 16.5 percent of all fatal accidents involved drowsy drivers. According to a report from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, there are an average of 328,000 drowsy-driving crashes per year across the U.S., including 109,000 injury crashes. More than half are caused by drivers under 25. The GHSA report further states that there are on average 6,400 fatal drowsy driving crashes every year.

Drowsy driving is dangerous, and drivers who cause car accidents in California may face legal damages

The GHSA report indicates that lack of sleep mimics the effects of alcohol in terms of how it can inhibit concentration while driving. Going 18 hours without sleep is the equivalent of having a 0.05 percent blood-alcohol concentration, while 21 hours without sleep is the equivalent of a 0.08 percent BAC, the legal limit in all states across the U.S. Driving after 24 hours without sleep is like driving with a 0.10 percent BAC, well beyond the legal max. Although drowsy driving can be difficult to prove after the fact, drowsy drivers who cause accidents may nonetheless be liable for any damages or injuries caused as a result. Safety advocates and government officials urge drivers to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep before driving, and if they feel drowsy during a long drive, pull over and take a 20 to 30 minute nap to mitigate the danger.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a drowsy driver in California, get help seeking damages from a seasoned professional by contacting the knowledgeable and passionate Glendale personal injury attorneys at McReynolds & Vardanyan LLP for a free consultation at 818-855-2115.

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