Teen Fatigued Driving Survey Uncovers Troubling Trend

Fatigued Driving

Teens need a lot of sleep.  Experts estimate that the average teen needs at least 9 hours of sleep per night.  Statistics reveal, however, that the average teen sleeps between 7 and 7.5 hours per night.  People who do not sleep enough, regardless of age, deal with constant sleep deprivation.  We have all seen tired teens, and many of us remember being tired regularly as teens.  Most people see this as part of life.  A recent survey has revealed a potential danger with tired teens.  That danger involves teen fatigued driving.  The survey we are going to discuss below also identified some other troubling trends regarding possible miscommunication.  Parents of teen drivers need to heed the warning generated by this survey and make sure that their young drivers are fit to get behind the wheel.  As we’ve discussed recently, drowsy driving is extremely dangerous for people of all ages.

About the Survey

Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD, or Students Against Destructive Decisions, collaborated on the research.  The survey asked teens a series of questions, and the responses with regards to fatigued driving were surprising to many.  These responses included:

  • 56 percent of teens admitted to driving when they felt too tired to perform at their best.
  • 32 percent of respondents admitted to fatigued driving at least periodically.
  • Nearly 10 percent admitted to falling asleep while behind the wheel.
  • 39 percent of teens said that family responsibilities contributed to their fatigue.
  • Only 11 percent of parents felt that these responsibilities contributed to the problem.
  • 42 percent of teens cited early-morning activities as a reason for fatigue.
  • 19 percent of parents felt that these early-morning activities contributed to this problem.

The researchers formulated these data by asking over 5,000 teens and parents from across the United States to answer a series of questions regarding fatigued driving.  Those interested in reading a full description of the survey can find it here.

How Parents Should Deal with Teen Fatigued Driving

We all understand that teens are tired a lot.  There’s a difference, though, between being a bit tired and being too tired to drive.  The important question to answer is when that proverbial line is crossed.  There’s no easy answer other than to trust the feelings of your teen driver if you are a parent.  Otherwise, you can still do things to help minimize the chance that fatigued driving will lead to disaster.  A few examples to consider are:

  • Communication – Talk to your teen driver about the dangers of fatigued driving.  Ask him or her to be open about being too tired to drive.  The survey linked above states that more than one-third of teens reported calling for a ride because they felt too tired to drive.  That step may have saved lives.
  • Schedule management – Take a look at your teen’s schedule if you notice that he or she is constantly tired.  If he or she is always up late and always getting up early in the morning, see if you can help make some adjustments to that schedule to account for sufficient sleep.
  • Early/Late Driving – People tend to be more tired immediately after they wake up in the morning and later at night before they usually go to sleep.  Work to minimize the amount of time that your teen driver spends behind the wheel during these dangerous times.

There are other steps available, but every situation is different.  The bottom line is that parents need to be proactive in order to help their young drivers avoid accidents.  Contact a San Diego car accident lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible if you’ve been harmed by a fatigued driver.

Posted in: Motor Vehicle Accidents
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