It is a well-known fact that driver fatigue contributes to tractor-trailer accidents because truck drivers drive long hours without getting adequate sleep. A driving study reveals that truck drivers aren’t the only ones who fall asleep at the wheel of a moving motor vehicle; drivers of automobiles also suffer from drowsy driving. 

A study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, indicates that driver fatigue is a factor in 20 percent of auto accidents nationwide, rather than the two or three percent previously thought. Interestingly, this study found that 18- to 20-year-olds topped the list for the age group that suffered from the most fatigue-related accidents. 

Why are teen drivers at higher risk for driver fatigue?

With technology such as iPhones and social media sites, teenagers are staying up later; however, school still starts at the same time. Staying up late combined with getting up early causes many teens to suffer from daytime sleepiness. While teens make up the largest age group who suffer from fatigue, older drivers also face similar issues with late nights and early work hours. However, the study indicated that older drivers have more experience in coping with moderate amounts of fatigue. 

This naturalistic driving study allowed researchers to observe driver behavior leading up to a crash. Identifiers such as eye-lid closure, head bobbing, yawning, and other signs showed that the driver was fighting off fatigue while driving. The study found that more car crashes and near crashes occurred during the day due to fatigue rather than at night. According to Charlie Klauer, group leader for teen risk and injury prevention at the transportation institute’s Center for Vulnerable Road User Safety, “In 20 percent of all crashes and 16 percent of all near crashes, the driver was showing fatigue.”

Driver Fatigue Contributes to 20% of Auto Accidents 

The study looked at 100 cars that were equipped with video units and software to monitor driver behavior. Researchers reviewed data on 232 drivers and more than 110,000 events in order to validate the following 10,548 events:

  • 82 crashes
  • 761 near crashes
  • 8,295 incidents, such as braking hard for slowing or stopped traffic
  • 1,423 events, such as running red lights with no traffic present

“Applying the findings to the population at-large, these results suggest that drivers are at a four times greater risk of a crash or near-crash if they choose to drive while fatigued,” said Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. 

If you were injured in a Georgia car crash and you believe the other driver was suffering from fatigue, you need to contact a skilled Peachtree City auto accident attorney to discuss your potential personal injury case. Contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith for a free consultation at (770) 487-8999 to learn more about your legal options today.

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