All traffic safety experts agree that drowsy driving is a major danger in Wisconsin and across the U.S. However, there is some debate regarding the actual number of injuries and fatalities drowsy driving crashes cause each year.
For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are around 100,000 fatigue-related accidents reported to the police each year, resulting in over 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries. However, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that at least 320,000 drowsy driving accidents take place each year, resulting in around 6,400 deaths and at least 109,000 injuries. Meanwhile, the Governors Highway Safety Association reports that approximately 5,000 people were killed in fatigue-related crashes in 2015. There are several reasons for the discrepancy in numbers, including that it is difficult to determine how sleepy a driver was before a crash and not all police departments record drowsy driving accident statistics. However, researchers believe that drowsy driving accidents and deaths are vastly underreported nationwide.
A recent study by the National Sleep Foundation found that around 50% of American drivers admit they consistently operate their vehicle while fatigued. In fact, 20% of drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel within the past 12 months, and over 40% admit they’ve gone to sleep behind the wheel at least once since getting their license. Other research has shown that drivers who go 20 straight hours without sleep are just as impaired as drivers who have a blood alcohol content level of .08, which is above the legal limit in all states.
It is possible that a personal injury attorney might be able to help victims of drowsy driving motor vehicle accidents obtain compensation for their injuries. The attorney may file a lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash and negotiate a settlement that covers the victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.