Californians better stop dreaming when they are driving, and take notice and plan ahead for the upcoming Daylight Savings time change taking effect March 13. Losing an hour of sleep for some people can actually end up being a fatal thing, especially when they have to get behind the wheel and drive drowsy.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the National Sleep Foundation are joining forces to observe National Sleep Awareness Week – March 6 through 12 – to focus on making drivers aware of the dangers of driving drowsy.1
“Many people have a hard time adjusting to the time change, and it can affect their driving,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Even the most careful drivers become confused and use poor judgment when they are sleepy.”
California Dreaming Can Be Deadly on the Roads
Last year alone, California officials reported 5,447 collisions of which 40 traffic-related fatalities occurred due to sleepy or drowsy drivers. Across the nation, law enforcement agencies report an estimated 100,000 car accidents occur every year as a result of fatigue – leading to approximately 71,000 injuries, 1,500 fatalities, at a cost of $12 billion.
Forty percent of Americans surveyed say they have nodded off at the wheel before, According to the American Automobile Association and the National Sleep Foundation in a March 5, 2015 Sacramento CBS news article.2
Which Drivers are Most at Risk?
It might surprise you to learn that younger people are more prone to falling asleep at the wheel than older people. The National Sleep Foundation 2002 poll found the following:
- Those between 18-29 are more likely to drive drowsy compared others
- Men (56%) are more likely than women (45%) to drive drowsy (56% vs. 45%) and two times more likely than women to fall asleep while driving
- Parents with kids (59%) still living at home are more likely to drive drowsy as those without children (45%)
- Those who work a 2nd or graveyard shift are more likely than those who work a regular 9-to-5 type schedules to drive from work drowsy
- Sleep deprivation also heightens the risk of a car crash
Tips for Staying Away Until You Get Home
Here’s a few recommendations from CHP when you’re driving and you feel the heavy tug of slumber coming on:
- Eat sunflower seeds
- Chew on gum
- Roll the window down
- Crank up the tunes
Liability of Driving Fatigued
Obviously, the worst thing that can happen as a result of a car accident involving a fatigued or drowsy driver is someone could potentially die as a result. That would unfortunately open the door to a wrongful death lawsuit. If someone were injured as a result, there is also the case for negligence as well. If the accident involved a reckless driver, or someone who drives commercially, a claimant could file for punitive damages on top of compensations for other damages.
Contact a Pasadena Personal Injury Attorney at the Law Offices of Pius Joseph
- “Time Change Can Lead to Sleepy Drivers” published in California Highway Patrol, March 2016.
- “Daylight Saving Time Brings Deadly Risk of Drowsy Driving” published in CBS Sacramento, March 2015.