Spotting drowsy drivers

Many in Jasper may fail to realize how easily their actions can pose a risk to others on the road. Most may understand that any type of distraction (e.g. talking or texting on a cell phone, eating, putting on makeup) elevates the chances of an accident. Yet few may realize that what they do while not behind the wheel (or better yet, what they do not do) can also impair their driving abilities. 

Drowsy drivers are fast becoming one of the most dangerous groups of motorists on the road today. Data shared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that such drivers caused over 396,000 accidents in America between 2011-2015. This high number of collisions certainly suggest that many of those on the road may not be getting enough sleep. 

Those lofty numbers might be even higher given that the NHTSA estimates that a large number of drowsy driving accidents go unreported. This brings up the problem in trying to identify fatigue as the cause of an accident: No one wants to admit to it. Accident victims may, however, be able to determine if a driver was fatigued that the time of a collision without needing him or her to confess to it. 

The most obvious way is to look at the time of day. Drowsy driving is much more likely to occur in the late night or early morning hours (or in the afternoon, when tired commuters are returning from work). The Sleep Disorders Center of Alabama also lists the following demographic groups as being more likely to drive drowsy: 

  • Young people (under the age of 25)
  • Rotating shift workers
  • Commercial vehicle drivers
  • Business travelers
  • Those with undiagnosed sleep disorders

Recognizing these factors requires one to pay close attention to what a driver does or says following a collision. 

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