On the road, people may drive erratically for numerous reasons. A driver may fail to abide by traffic safety laws because they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or because they are using their cell phone when they should be focusing on the road instead. However, many people drive without realizing that their ability to stay safe and avoid a crash is impaired due to fatigue. Driver fatigue is a very serious problem in the U.S. and many people may be surprised to discover just how often drivers fall asleep while they are behind the wheel.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimates suggest that among drivers over the age of 18, one out of 25 have fallen asleep in the past 30 days. Obviously, when someone falls asleep on the road, they have lost the ability to safely control their vehicle and avoid an accident. Even if a driver falls asleep for a very short period of time, they may cross over into another lane or drive off of the roadway altogether, colliding with a pedestrian or bicyclist or slamming into a tree.
The CDC also references statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which show that an estimated 72,000 drowsy driving accidents took place in 2013 alone. Among these accidents, it is believed that 800 people lost their lives and 44,000 were hurt. Sadly, many more lives have been claimed in the years since as a result of drowsy driving, and countless people have sustained injuries in wrecks that were caused by driver fatigue.