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CDC Reports 4.2% of Adult Motorists Doze Off While Driving

At Altman & Altman, LLP, our Boston injury lawyers represent clients injured in Massachusetts motor vehicle crashes that were caused by other negligent parties, and although following asleep at the steering wheel might not seem like an intentionally reckless act, if a driver causes an traffic collision as a result, it can be grounds for a Massachusetts personal injury or wrongful death. Auto accidents caused by asleep or drowsy drivers occur more often than one would like to think.

A recent report from the CDC revealed that 4.2% of adults admitted they had fallen asleep while driving at least one time in the last month. Our Boston car accident law firm doesn’t have to tell you that this is the equivalent to having a moving car on the road with no one at the steering wheel.

The report’s findings come from a survey of over 147,000 in DC and 19 states in 2009 and 2010. The report’s lead author, Dr. Wheaton, said that although a 4.2% national average seemed high, the actual number of motorists that actually do fall asleep while operating a more vehicle is more. She noted that the reason for this is sometimes a motorist may doze off for just a couple of seconds and not even realize it. While adult drivers in the 25 to 34 age range were most at risk of falling asleep while driving, senior motorists in the 65 and older age group were the ones least like to nod off. Also, more men drivers than women fell asleep.

That said, one doesn’t need to fall completely asleep to be a danger on the road. Drowsy driving is another common causes of Boston motor vehicle collisions. When one is sleepy, the reflexes slow, as does the mind. It can be harder to pay attention to what is happening and mistakes at the wheel can happen more easily because decision-making abilities become impaired.

The CPSC reports that tired drivers are the disproportionate cause of rear-end and head-on crashes-collisions that were more likely to result in deaths and injuries than traffic crashes involving drivers that weren’t sleepy at the time. Also, the NHTSA has said that 2.5% of deadly crashes were caused by drowsy drivers, but the CDC said that this figure, per some studies, was closer to 33%.

Drowsy Driving – 19 States and the District of Columbia, 2009–2010, CDC, January 4, 2013

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