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How many people actually fall asleep at the wheel?

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Drowsy or fatigued driving is a serious safety risk. The average adult in the United States simply does not get enough sleep. New parents often stay up most of the night or wake up every few hours to take care of their children. Busy professionals may not be able to get to bed early enough to get their eight hours of sleep.

Those who feel fatigued usually try to live their life as normal despite their exhaustion. They drive themselves to work and run errands. Fatigued or drowsy drivers are a real hazard on the road. They usually display impaired driving ability. In some cases, they might even fall asleep at the wheel.

A shocking number of drivers fall asleep at the wheel

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) track issues beyond illnesses. Car crashes are a leading cause of injury and death, so the CDC investigates collisions as well. A survey conducted by the CDC had very unsettling results.

Specifically, respondents reported falling asleep at the wheel at a surprisingly high rate. Approximately 1 in 25 drivers has likely fallen asleep while driving within the last 30 days. The actual number of drivers who fall asleep at the wheel could be substantially higher than that, as many people do not answer questions honestly when the question relates to personal faults or negligence. Some of the drivers who admitted to falling asleep at the wheel also acknowledged that they had more than one such incident in the last 30 days.

A driver who loses consciousness at the wheel obviously cannot drive safely. They will lose control of their vehicle and may jerk on the steering wheel when they regain consciousness. They can very easily cause a crash, especially if they are in control of a large commercial vehicle when they lose consciousness. Someone involved in a crash caused by a fatigued or unconscious driver could incur major expenses. Traffic camera footage or even admissions from exhausted motorists could help someone establish that fatigued driving or falling asleep at the wheel is what caused a crash.

Someone who loses consciousness while driving could be liable for any injuries and property damage they cause. Learning more about lesser-known traffic safety risks may help drivers identify who is unsafe at the wheel or hold the right person accountable in the event of a crash.