Drowsy driving is a problem that affects drivers all across the United States. Research conducted by AAA indicates that drowsy driving may be much more prevalent than current federal estimates suggest. For this reason, it is important that Columbus drivers understand the risks and warning signs of drowsy driving.
Driving while tired can be a violation of the legal obligation all Ohio drivers have to drive with due care. Such negligence can result in civil lawsuits, points on a driver’s license, and serious injuries or death, which affects victims and families for years to come.
The Facts About Drowsy Driving
Estimates from federal transportation authorities currently cite drowsiness as a factor in only one to two percent of all traffic accidents across the United States. But a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 9.5 percent of all accidents (and 10.8 percent of accidents resulting in significant property damage) were related to tired drivers. This is eight times higher than the federal estimates. The study demonstrates just how inaccurate current estimations of drowsy driving may be. This can cause many drivers to drastically underestimate the scope of the problem.
Ohio road authorities are similarly unable to obtain accurate data about the percentage of accidents in which drowsiness is a contributing factor. The Ohio Department of Public Safety has issued comprehensive data about all accidents that took place in Ohio in 2016. This report breaks down accident data by the time of day, day of the week, lighting conditions, manner of collision, road conditions, school bus accidents, work zone accidents, deer accidents, the gender and age of occupants, the location of occupants inside the vehicle, the type of road user (driver, passenger, pedestrian, bicyclist, etc.) and many other different categories. But in spite of this wealth of information, the department has not been able to accurately identify the number of accidents caused by tired drivers.
Here in Ohio, real families suffer the consequences of tired driving. WTOV 9 reports that a woman was hospitalized after her vehicle was struck on State Route 147 between Bethesda and Barnesville. The Belmont County accident involved three vehicles and was reportedly caused by a tired driver.
Such accidents could be prevented by the implementation of autonomous vehicles, which are coming to Ohio as the result of a $15 million state investment in the “Smart Mobility Corridor.” According to the Dayton Daily News, the 35-mile stretch of U.S. 33 will be fitted with fiber optic cable and sensor systems to allow for testing of autonomous (self-driving) vehicle technologies in live traffic conditions. This testing will provide critical data on the safety of self-driving vehicles. Many safety advocates claim that these technologies reduce human error on the road, such as those caused by drowsy driving.
When drowsy driving accidents do occur, it is important for injury victims to protect their legal right to be compensated for injuries and losses. A Columbus car accident attorney can help injury victims hold drowsy drivers accountable for their negligence in order to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.