Chicago’s Drowsy Driving Problem

There are dozens of issues contributing to a lack of safety on Chicago’s roadways every day of the year, including speeding, drinking and driving, running red lights, and operating a car while distracted. But while these aforementioned issues get media coverage and are widely known among drivers, operating while tired or sleepy does not get the same treatment despite the fact that it is linked to thousands of car accidents in the country annually and is blamed for the loss of far too many lives.

Put simply, drowsy driving happens anytime a motorist is behind the wheel and is tired or sleepy. It may be that the driver failed to get enough sleep the night before or that a driver has been awake too long during the day. Or, it can be that a driver is physically drained from being on the road too long, leading her to become drowsy. In our modern, busy world, most adults find themselves tired on at least an occasional basis so it can be easy for them to brush off their sleepiness and get in their cars to drive.

But studies have consistently shown that operating a car while tired can be just as dangerous, and in some cases more dangerous, than driving while drunk. Being tired takes a driver’s focus away from traffic and places it on other things, like how exhausted she feels. Sleepy drivers also have a decreased ability to react quickly and a slower response time when conditions change which makes it more likely that they will be involved in and possibly even cause a collision.

It is hard to get accurate numbers regarding drowsy driving because it depends on a degree of self-reporting by motorists who may be less than forthcoming about their habit to drive while sleepy. Yet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) still attempts to collect and review such data, and through its reports, it concluded that drowsy driving caused 72,000 collisions which led to 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths in the United States in 2013. In a survey conducted by NHTSA, approximately 4 percent of all drivers over the age of 18 admitted that they had fallen asleep while driving at least once in the previous 30 days.

Tired driving is a serious threat to safety and is becoming and epidemic in Chicago. If you drive on an occasional basis, it is important to realize that you may be risking the safety of others if you drive while you are tired as well as potentially violating numerous laws in Illinois. If you feel sleepy, notice that you are blinking more frequently than normal, are yawning repeatedly, are having difficulty keeping your eyes open, are drifting in your lane or in other lanes, or find that you are confused behind the wheel, do not take chances. Pull over to a safe location and rest if possible or seek a ride from a friend or family member.

If you have been the victim of a car accident with a drowsy driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages including any medical expenses you incurred or will incur in the future. The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. will offer you a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation when you call us toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and we will keep everything discussed confidential. We understand that you may need answers outside of traditional business hours so we keep a licensed lawyer standing by to speak with you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

If your life has been altered by a car crash, contact Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us fight for you.

Prior Blog Entry:

Avoiding Collisions with Anti-Lock Brakes, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published February 10, 2016.

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