Speaking at a recently-held forum in Washington, D.C., a representative of the NHTSA said that 5,000 to 7,000 deaths occur each year because of drowsy driving. The forum was part of National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, which aims to educate drivers in Maryland and around the country about the dangers of getting behind the wheel while tired. The NHTSA representative was a former National Transportation Safety Board member who shared data collected by that agency over the past several years at the forum.
Between 2001 and 2012, nearly 40 percent of all major highway investigations conducted by the NTSB included fatigue driving as one factor that contributed to the incident. Overall, 20 percent of all major accident investigations involved a fatigued driver. According to a study recently conducted by AAA, approximately 43 percent of the respondents said that they had operated a motor vehicle while nodding off or falling asleep at least once.
In 2010, AAA performed another study that revealed 16.5 percent of all traffic deaths are caused by drowsy drivers. The more recent study indicates that drivers between the ages of 19 and 24 are most likely to drive while tired. Of respondents in that age group, 39.5 percent admitted that they had been driving while tired within the previous month. Overall, 31.5 percent of the respondents said that they had driven while sleep-deprived during that time period.
People who are injured in an accident caused by a drowsy or otherwise negligent driver may want to speak with a personal injury attorney to see how they can obtain compensation for their losses. In some cases, the attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist seeking damages for medical expenses, lost wages and other applicable amounts.