Drowsy driving a common cause of car accidents in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach

Our Boca Raton injury lawyers encourage you to take to heart the message of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, Nov. 8 to 15, and talk to friends and loved ones about the dangers of driving while tired.

An increasing amount of evidence suggests that drowsy driving is responsible for significant numbers of car accidents in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and elsewhere in South Florida.

A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 41 percent of drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at some point. One in 10 say they have fallen asleep while driving at some point in the last year. And one-fourth of drivers admit to driving while so tired they could hardly keep their eyes open at some point in the last month.

“It is shocking to consider that one quarter of drivers admit to operating a vehicle in the last month in an incapacitated state,” said David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “We applaud AAA’s work to elevate this issue for public scrutiny and action.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that one-sixth of all fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver, leading to the death of more than 5,500 motorists a year. One in 8 accidents that result in hospitalization and 1 in 14 crashes that require a tow truck also involve a drowsy driver.

“When you are behind the wheel of a car, being sleepy is very dangerous. Sleepiness decreases awareness, slows reaction time, and impairs judgment, just like drugs or alcohol, contributing to the possibility of a crash,” said AAA Foundation President Peter Kissinger. “We need to change the culture so that not only will drivers recognize the dangers of driving while drowsy but will stop doing it.”

Among the other findings of the report:

-Young drivers ages 16 to 24 were twice as likely to be involved in a drowsy driving accident, compared to drivers ages 40 to 59.

-Two-thirds of drowsy driving accidents involve men.

-Those riding with a passenger were half as likely to be involved in a drowsy driving crash.

-About 57 percent of drowsy driving crashes involve a driver who drives off the road or into other lanes of traffic.