Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner
Several years ago, the National Sleep Foundation sponsored a public awareness campaign about the effects of drowsy driving. As I blogged about the problem in 2011, drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. It actually handicaps drivers with slower reaction times, vision impairments, lapses in judgment and delays in processing information.
New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that 21% of all fatal crashes involves driver fatigue. Although safety experts have long been aware that drowsy driving is a serious traffic safety problem, these new statistics show that the official statistics from NHTSA underestimate driver fatigue as a cause of accidents and fatalities (approximately 1-3%). According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research:
- one-third of crashes involving a drowsy driver result in injures;
- more than 6,000 fatigue-related crashes each year result in at least one fatality;
- 33% of young drivers ages 19-24 admitted to driving while drowsy during the last month;
- drivers 75+ and 16-18 were least likely to report driving while drowsy.
According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety president and CEO Peter Kissinger,”This new research further confirms that drowsy driving is a serious traffic safety problem. Unfortunately, drivers often underestimate this risk and overestimate their ability to combat drowsiness behind the wheel.”
Driving drowsy is not responsible. Crashes caused by drowsy driving are preventable and should not happen. I agree with Mr. Kissinger, who said, “Despite the fact that 95 percent of Americans deem it ‘unacceptable’ to drive when they are so tired that they have a hard time keeping their eyes open, more than 28 percent admit to doing so in the last month.
About the author:
Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association recently named him “Trial Lawyer of the Year” (2011). Super Lawyers recently named him among the “Top Ten” lawyers in the Metro Area (out of more than 80,000 attorneys). He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a “Big Gun” and among the “top 100” lawyers in the entire metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as “one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers” who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners. His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA. Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of “The Best Lawyers in America” by Best Lawyers (2014 edition) and has been repeatedly named a “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyer magazine (2014) — national publications that honor the top lawyers in America.