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Car Accidents and Sleep Deprivation


Are you sleep deprived? You’re not alone as there are approximately 33 percent of Americans who don’t get enough sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of three people in the U.S. get less than 7 hours of sleep per night on a regular basis.

Lack of sleep is increasingly viewed as a national crisis. This issue contributes to the cause of several chronic conditions, such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and mental stress. Another lesser publicized danger of sleep deprivation is a higher incidence of injury-causing accidents.

Lack of Adequate Sleep Increases Car Crash Rates

Drunk driving is a known safety hazard for motorists and auto passengers, but what about drowsy driving? The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (FTS) recently released a report spotlighting the hazards of driving while sleepy. Studies show that lack of sleep is a factor in about 21 percent of car accidents that involve a fatality. Though sleep deprivation is a known driving hazard, this FTS report explores the ratio between hours of sleep missed and the increased risk of accident. Data was supplied by the NHTSA’s National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey.

The data suggests that a driver who only gets about five or six hours of sleep during a 24-hour period is nearly two times more likely to be involved in a collision than one who sleeps at least seven hours. When the number of sleep hours decreases to four or five, the risk of an accident rises to more than four times the collision rate. This is nearly equal to the dangers posed by inebriated drivers! Clearly, sleep deprivation is a hazard on the road.

Tips for Better Sleep

During your next physical, discuss your sleep patterns with your health care professional to determine whether you have any sleep-related problems. In some cases, inadequate sleep is caused by an underlying health issue, such as sleep apnea or chronic pain. Your medical professional can usually help you address these conditions, which allows you to get better quality sleep.

For many Americans, a lack of sleep is due to stress, poor planning and a failure to place the needed importance on getting the requisite amount of REM’s. If this is your situation, it’s important that you first acknowledge the necessity of healthy sleep habits. You can then take the needed steps to make the lifestyle changes required for improved sleep. This will help you stay healthier and safer, at home, at work and on the roads.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to the inattention or careless driving of another motorist, you have the right to pursue damages for your injury. A Texas car accident lawyer can advise you of these rights and help you pursue a claim.