In Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, Lakewood Ranch, Port Charlotte and surrounding areas, drowsy driving is a significant hidden car accident risk motorists face on the road. A personal injury lawyer knows that preventing drowsy driving is difficult because it is hard to make enforceable laws limiting the amount of time an average motorist can spend behind the wheel before being required to rest. Although truck drivers must keep log books of time behind the wheel, and can drive only for limited periods of time per day and per week, establishing and enforcing these types of rules for average drivers is practically and politically impossible.
Because laws cannot explicitly prohibit drowsy driving for most motorists, other approaches are necessary to keep overtired motorists off the roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) intends to step up efforts to combat distracted driving. Automobile Magazine reported the NHTSA has announced drowsy driving will be one of the major focuses this year, although it is unclear exactly what steps the agency can or will take to help solve the problem of overtired motorists.
NHTSA Aims to Address the Problem of Drowsy Driving
The NHTSA administrator noted drowsy driving is a universal problem that can affect everyone, unlike things like drinking or texting or speeding that not everyone does. Anyone can get tired and lack of sleep is a big problem for many people nationwide.
Drowsy driving causes some 2.5 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. This is a large number of crashes, with 72,000 collisions every year in the United States potentially attributed to motorists who have not gotten enough sleep. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also found four percent of all drivers on the roads in the U.S. had dozed off during the period before the survey.
Although 72,000 accidents is a big number, the actual measure of how many drowsy driving crashes there are each year is not known. The problem is that drowsy driving isn’t testable and police cannot know for sure if a motorist was too tired and thus caused a collision as a result. This leads to the number of drowsy driving crashes being under-reported.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can’t do much about a lot of the problems that lead to drowsy driving. However, the agency’s job is to protect the public and it needs to come up with innovative solutions to try to curb the risks of drowsy drivers.
The NHTSA’s plan for stopping drowsy driving may have limited effectiveness. The agency described plans for public awareness campaigns to alert the public about the risks of drowsy driving. The agency also plans to gather more data on the causes of drowsy driving, and to conduct evaluations into whether technical or legal solutions could be most beneficial at preventing drowsy-driving behavior. This slow process means nothing substantive is likely to happen any time soon to make the roads safer.
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