Our Clark County personal injury attorneys have logged a good number of hours on Highway 95 and elsewhere on Nevada’s rural highways in the course of working with clients in Mesquite, Pahrump, Primm, Reno, and Stateline. But safety has to come first, and drowsy driving cannot be taken lightly. Large numbers of Nevada drivers fall asleep behind the wheel, and the consequences can be devastating automobile accidents.
According to a recent telephone survey, fully 20 percent of drivers have previously fallen asleep at the wheel. One-in-four drivers say that they have driven under conditions where they struggled to keep their eyes open. (And because the survey was conducted by phone, it may have had a common statistical bias toward older, less itinerant individuals that may have understated the number of individuals who have driven while drowsy.) With nearly 1.5 million registered drivers as of 2004 in addition to hundreds of thousands of visitors traveling Nevada’s roads every year, the volume of drivers who have or habitually do drive without sufficient sleep could number in the hundreds of thousands.
Road Warriors take note: this is no joke. Drowsy driving impairs judgment and makes drivers less alert and slower to react. Sound familiar? These are the textbook cognitive impairments that make driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol so dangerous. Social acceptance of drunk driving has changed massively since the 1980s, and we are beginning to take note of the perils of distracted driving in the wake of new technology. Perhaps the next frontier is drowsy driving.
According to the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one-in-six U.S. road fatalities from motor vehicle accidents involve a drowsy driver. Drowsy driving most often happens at night, and the results can be even more devastating than under other circumstances: the combination of somnambulance and speed can result in full-speed collisions with other vehicles or with stationary objects such as guard rails or telephone poles.
At the federal level, laws are in place to regulate the number of continuous hours drivers may operate a commercial vehicle. There is some dispute over whether or not these laws have been enforced enough to reduce the number of big-rig, semi-truck, and 18-wheeler accidents in Nevada.
Experts recommend that drivers not drive on less than six hours of sleep from the night before, that they drive when they are normally awake (for most of us, during daytime), and that they take a break every two hours. Many of our readers may see that they have violated one or more of these suggestions, perhaps on a recent trip.
If you or a family member have been harmed in an automobile accident, no matter the cause, contact us for a free consultation. We will help you understand your legal rights and guide you toward restoration. Call us today for automobile injury legal help in Las Vegas. Drive safely out there, and get some sleep.