The dangers of combining drugs or alcohol with driving have been well-documented and are included in every driver’s education course. Teenagers receive numerous lectures about drinking and driving while studying to get their licenses, and there are several programs nationwide that work tirelessly to raise awareness and encourage drivers to be safer on the road.
But another dangerous practice is putting drivers in harm’s way, and this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to put this danger on the national radar.
The NHTSA has placed eliminating drowsy driving high on its agenda for 2015. Mark Rosekind, the administrator of the NHTSA, announced the agency will be focusing on data collection so they can better track and measure the problem.
Although the existing data on drowsy driving is older and does not accurately reflect the problem on today’s roads, it is estimated that nearly 20 percent of all accidents involve a driver who was too tired. There is currently no way to determine how tired drivers are or how their levels of tiredness will affect their driving skills.
Additionally, the NHTSA will be launching a campaign to alert the nation about how dangerous it is to drive when sleepy and to consider other options for cracking down on those who do.
The Third “D”
Officials have said that drowsy driving is the “third D” of preventable dangers for drivers–after drunk and distracted driving. Although not all drivers drink, take drugs or use their phones while driving, almost everyone has gotten behind the wheel early in the morning before a cup of coffee or after a long day at work.
When people are tired, they are more likely to drift in and out of focus, close their eyes briefly or even fall asleep for a few moments. Tired drivers are typically more susceptible to impaired motor skills and decreased decision making abilities, both of which also put drunk drivers at risk. Rosekind stated that “falling asleep at the wheel at 70 mph is a recipe for tragedy.”
Analyzing Existing Laws
The NHTSA’s plan includes training officers to detect clues of drowsy driving in accident investigations, using signs, like a lack of skid marks or taking a closer look at crashes that involved only one vehicle. The agency will also be conducting a review of laws that currently exist to prevent drowsy driving accidents.
In a few states, drivers are considered reckless if they have not slept for 24 consecutive hours before getting on the road. Analyzing these laws will help the NHTSA provide ideas for enacting nationwide legislation going forward.
If you have been injured by a driver who was too tired to control his or her vehicle, or otherwise impaired, you may need the help of a Denver auto accident attorney to bring your case to court. At Levine Law Firm, Jordan Levine is here to help you file a personal injury claim against negligent drivers. To discuss your case, contact the firm today.