When was the last time you struggled to stay awake at the wheel of a car. Hopefully it was not recently. I remember taking a road trip with a friend in college. He obviously had not gotten enough sleep prior to the road trip. As I recall we had just finished with final exams. In an effort to stay awake, he downed cups of black coffee. Then he proceeded to roll down the windows, in the middle of winter. I remember the cold blast of air that rushed into the car. This to stay awake while driving on the road. Today, I would have insisted that we stop and take a nap.
Many experts and studies have shown that sleep deprived driving, can be as dangerous as drunk driving. The research shows that drivers who have been awake for greater than 17 or hours drove similar to those with a that were considered legally intoxicated. Statistics that 15 to 60 percent of all car accidents involved a sleep deprived driver. This is a staggering amount! Drivers who are sleep deprived have diminished gross and fine motor skill function, agitation or anxiety and impaired judgments. Sleep deprived drivers take unnecessary risks on the roads and highways.
The populations at risk for sleep deprived driving are those who drive long hours and long distances as a requirement of their work. A commercial truck driver is a perfect example. They drive for extended periods of time with limited time for sleep. This puts them at a greater risk for sleep deprivation. As a Chicago truck accident lawyer, I know from experience, it's dangerous enough driving on the overcrowded highways, add another dimension suck as lack of sleep. The results could be fatal. Tractor trailer truck accidents on interstates can be catastrophic, due to the sheer size of the vehicles. Truck drivers need perfect judgment and performance at all times. Sleep deprivation puts them at risk and that of the other passenger motorists sharing the roads with their large commercial trucks.
Stay safe on the roads. If you are feeling tired or sleep deprived, get some sleep. Leave the keys on the counter and jump into bed. You could save a life!
Source: Driver cited with DUI in crash that injured 2 in Eisenhower accident, Chicago Tribune, Sep 5 2011