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Sleep deprivation affects people in several negative ways. Most people simply do not function at proper levels when they do not get enough sleep. According to Johns Hopkins University, sleep deprivation can increase your risk of colorectal cancer, of high blood pressure and of heart disease among other things. We have posted about the risks associated with drowsy driving recently. A new study has delved deeper into this issue. Researchers with the American Automobile Association, or AAA, released a study that shows how different levels of sleep deprivation can negatively affect driver safety. Every San Diego car accident attorney at Gomez Trial Attorneys would like the public to know the risks of getting behind the wheel without enough sleep. If enough people are aware of these risks, perhaps some auto accidents can be avoided.
The researchers analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey. The crashes included in the study occurred between July of 2005 and December of 2007. The data does not include accidents that took place between midnight and 6 a.m. Every accident included at least one vehicle that needed to be towed from the scene and the dispatch of an emergency medical responder.
After defining the criteria above, the researchers reviewed information provided by drivers involved in the crashes that related to the amount of sleep that they had missed recently. This analysis led to the following findings:
As such, people who had slept 4 hours or less were 11.5 times more likely to get into a car accident than those who had slept at least 7 hours.
In addition, an analysis of drivers involved in crashes who reported that they had slept less than they usually do led to the following results:
These accident rates were derived by comparing these motorists to drivers who reported sleeping their usual amount during the previous 24 hours. Those interested in reading the entire study can find it here.
AAA likely completed this study because the organization understands that sleep deprivation is an enormous problem in the United States. This problem is clearly affecting the safety of our roads. Most experts agree that adults between the ages of 18 and 60 need at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Gallup did a survey in 2013 that looked at the prevalence of this problem. The study found that 40 percent of Americans do not get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. The study also broke down the average number of hours of sleep per night by age group. The data revealed the following percentages of people getting 6 hours of sleep or less per night:
Those who would like to read the entire survey can find it here.
All of this information ties together such that it makes perfect sense that the drowsy driving car accident statistics in the United States are troubling. According to the National Sleep Foundation:
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, estimates that at least 800 fatal crashes occur every year in the United States because of drowsy driving. Other advocacy groups estimate the number to be much higher.
Every San Diego car accident attorney has represented people who have been injured or who have lost loved ones because of drowsy driving. Many of these cases would never have arisen if motorists had kept a few ideas in mind designed to help avoid the dangers of drowsy driving. Some of these ideas include:
You need to take immediate steps to protect and enforce your legal rights if you are badly injured in a crash that is caused by a drowsy driver. If you are forced into this situation, seek the help of a San Diego car accident attorney who has been successfully standing up for the rights of those wrongfully harmed in collisions for several years.
John Gomez founded the firm alone in 2005. Today, John acts as President and Lead Trial Attorney. He has been voted by his peers as a top ten San Diego litigator in three separate fields: Personal Injury, Insurance and Corporate Litigation. Since 2000, he has recovered over $800 million in settlements and verdicts for his clients with more than 160 separate recoveries of one million dollars or more. A prolific trial lawyer, John has tried to jury verdict more than 60 separate cases.
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