Dangers of Drowsy Driving Exposed in Dramatic Experiment
Doctors and experts at the CDC caution about the effects of sleep deprivation, and how just one night of missed sleep can render a person so impaired, their ability to drive is on par with someone who is legally drunk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 7,500 fatal accidents in the U.S. every year involve drowsy drivers – and this figure is assumed to be seriously underreported.
Who’s more likely to get behind the wheel when excessively tired? Evening shift workers, commercial truck drivers, and those with undiagnosed sleep problems or sleep apnea, says the organization.
Roughly 100,000 traffic accidents each year are caused by tired motorists, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And in those drowsy driving crashes, some 71,000 people suffer severe personal injury – ranging from broken bones and lacerations to spinal cord trauma and limb amputation.
It’s no secret that alcohol or sedatives can impair your judgment behind the wheel, but drivers must realize the danger they put themselves and everyone else in when they aren’t well rested.
Here at Ellis Law, our Los Angeles car accident lawyers are committed to advocating for the innocent victims who’ve been harmed or lost a family member in a drowsy driving crash. For more than 25 years, our attorneys have deftly fought negligent motorists whose actions have caused others personal injury and tremendous financial strain.
Experiment highlights dangers of drowsy driving
NBC’s Today recently reported on a dramatic experiment that certainly illustrates the dangers of drowsy driving. National investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen drove a closed obstacle course twice – once when well rested and a second time after keeping himself awake for 30 hours. The course was riddled with sharp turns and traffic cones that represented a “collision” with another vehicle or object. During his first attempt while very alert, Rossen aced the obstacle course – never once striking a cone.
The second try was not so successful, however. After staying awake for 30 hours, and just before getting behind the wheel, Rossen said, “Actually, I feel fine. I feel like this is the kind of situation that a lot of people drive in. Maybe I could too.” If each traffic cone simulated a crash, Rossen had several accidents and failed the course badly. Both attempts were recorded for later observation by sleep authority, Dr. Charles Czeisler of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“Most people don’t realize that part of the brain can be asleep while another part of the brain is awake. So you may be able to keep your foot full throttle on the accelerator and even negotiate certain turns and yet not have the judgment area of the brain engaged,” explained Czeisler after reviewing Rossen’s failed attempt at driving while drowsy.
When on the road split-second decisions and quick reaction times are crucial, but these are severely hampered by sleep deprivation.
Remember the car accident that almost killed comedian and actor Tracy Morgan earlier this year? It was later discovered that the WalMart truck driver who struck Morgan’s vehicle had been awake for more than 24 hours. Morgan escaped the crash with serious injuries, but his close friend was not so fortunate, and died in the collision.
Assistance filing a Los Angeles drowsy driving accident lawsuit
If you or someone you love was harmed in a drowsy driving accident in the greater Los Angeles area and you need sound legal advice, please call Ellis Injury Law for a no-charge case review. Our LA drowsy driving accident lawyers offer the experience, financial resources and network of investigators to determine if you have grounds for pursuing compensation.
Money recovered in a personal injury lawsuit can help offset the burdens incurred by hospital and medical bills, lost income, property damage, and emotional trauma. Arrange your free consultation with car accident attorneys L.A. trusts most by calling 310-641-3335.