Whether it’s due to getting up early for the morning commute, staying up late working on a big project, or just simply not getting enough sleep—we probably drive drowsy more often than we think. Generally this wouldn’t be very alarming. Driving drowsy isn’t the same as driving under the influence, right?
Unfortunately, in most cases you’d be wrong. A new study conducted by the Oxford Academic Journal reveals getting behind the wheel with just less than six hours of sleep can drastically increase your chances of having a car accident.
While public health campaigns often remind us that driving drowsy can be dangerous, statistics are suggesting that though most of us know that to be true, we aren’t doing anything to change our behavior. Driver drowsiness is responsible for about seven percent of all auto accidents in the U.S. each year (roughly 330,000) and 16 percent of fatal crashes.
Though it’s common knowledge that most adults need around eight hours of sleep each night, surveys from the Department of Transportation (DOT) indicate one in three adult drivers sleep fewer than seven hours a night, and many get far less sleep.
In the DOT study, researchers reviewed and analyzed data from a previous study that involved investigations of over 5,000 automobile crashes. The results showed that when compared with drivers getting around eight hours of sleep at night, those who reported getting six hours of sleep had 1.3 times increased odds of causing a crash. Those who reported getting five hours had 1.9 times increased odds, and those getting four hours had 2.9 times increased odds.
Not only that, but drivers receiving fewer than four hours of sleep at night had a startling 15.1 times increased odds of causing a car crash. This is comparable to the risk of a driver with a blood alcohol level 1.5 times the legal limit—about nine drinks.
“Being awake isn’t the same as being alert. Falling asleep isn’t the only risk,” said lead study author Brian Tefft. “Even if they manage to stay awake, sleep-deprived drivers are still at increased risk of making mistakes–like failing to notice something important, or misjudging a gap in traffic–which can have tragic consequences.”
Lubbock Drowsy Driving Accident Attorneys
The experienced attorneys at Liggett Law Group know how a car accident can affect your life physically, financially, and emotionally. If you or someone you love was injured in a Lubbock car accident caused by a fatigued driver, Liggett Law Group can explain your legal rights. Call us today for a free consultation.