Forty-three percent of Americans do not get enough sleep each night to drive and do their jobs in a safe manner, according to a new report by the National Safety Council (NSC).
The NSC survey-based report found that nearly half of those surveyed did not get adequate nightly rest to engage in tasks that require the ability to think clearly, make logical and informed decisions and to be productive. More than 80% of survey respondents also stated that they hold jobs that are at a higher risk for fatigue, such as driving a truck or working at a construction project site.
In addition, the NSC report found that 97% of people surveyed stated that they have at least one risk factor for fatigue, such as:
- Working more than 50 hours per week
- Long commutes
- Working long shifts with no breaks
- Working nights or in the early morning.
Driver Fatigue Leads to Terrible Accidents
These findings are alarming, experts say, because fatigued workers and drivers lead to far more serious accidents on the road and at work. These accidents can cause severe and sometimes fatal injuries. A person whose sleep is cut short by just two hours per night can be as mentally and physically impaired as a person who has drunk three beers. Driving with three beers in you can cause deadly accidents, even if you are not legally intoxicated (usually a BAC of .08% or higher).
This fact is supported by recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, which show that 100,000 accidents reported to the police each year are due to driver fatigue. This leads to approximately 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion in financial losses for the country.
From a public-safety perspective, the problem with fatigued driving is that it is a difficult problem to pin down. There is no accepted test to determine who is too sleepy to drive, and state reporting is highly inconsistent with regard to fatigued driving. Few police departments are trained to identify fatigue as a reason for an accident.
However, it is clear that fatigued driving is dangerous and leads to many serious accidents with injuries.
Liability for Truck Accidents Due to Driver Fatigue
A common type of motor vehicle accident involving fatigue is tractor trailer crashes. Truck drivers with a commercial driver’s license are allowed to drive only so many hours per day. However, most truckers get paid per mile, so there is a financial incentive for truckers to evade the rules and drive longer than they should.
A recent study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that in 18,000 commercial vehicle crashes, 13% of them were due at least in part to driver fatigue. Trucking companies that employ drivers who injure or kill innocent people due to driver fatigue frequently are sued in civil court for millions of dollars in damages. In fact, the state of Georgia is ranked 5th in the U.S. in the number of fatal truck accidents, and at least some of them are due to driver fatigue.
Hurt By a Fatigued or Distracted Driver? Contact The Mann Law Firm
If you have been injured or had a loved one killed by a fatigued driver, you have legal rights. You could be entitled to compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. The Mann Law Firm is experienced in holding fatigued and distracted drivers responsible for their careless actions. Please contact our Middle Georgia offices today at 478-742-3381 or use our online form to set up a free consultation.