The Wiley Online Library reports approximately 30 percent of the U.S. population reports frequent short sleep. Meaning, 30 percent of the population routinely sleeps four to six hours a night without self-reported adverse consequences.
Some days we are too tired to get in our daily exercise, or other times we’re nodding off in the middle of a hectic work day. Even worse, we may not let ourselves become aware of our sleepiness because we are just caffeinating ourselves as needed to get things done. Sleep deprivation can impact many facets of our life, some we may not believe are very important – but there is one serious consequence that is not terribly forgiving: drowsy driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This number is almost double what it was 20 years ago and is likely very conservative, given that there is no test to determine sleepiness. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
DrowsyDriving.org reports being awake for more than 24 hours produces impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of .10.
Sleep deprivation is certainly to blame for drowsy driving, but what can you do to make sure you’re taking all precautionary measures when it comes to your sleep and driving?
We here at Reyes Browne Reilley Law Firm encourage you to take a look at your own habits and see how you could prevent drowsy driving. Determine what is standing in the way of you getting the sleep you need to really get a hold of your quality of sleep.
If you notice yourself unusually or regularly fatigued, be proactive and express your concerns with your doctor. Because sleep isn’t usually the first thing that comes up during your regular visits with the doctor, it is important to bring up these conversations to determine if you might be struggling with an underlying condition, such as an undiagnosed sleep disorder. We encourage you to give these behavior changes some thought and take it seriously – your wellbeing might depend on it.