A 2014 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that drowsy drivers were responsible for an estimated 21 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes. This number was up from 16.5 percent in a previous study that had been conducted in 2010. However, 96 percent of respondents surveyed by AAA believe that driving while drowsy is not acceptable. Those who study the issue believe that more education and public outreach can help drivers understand the consequences of driving while not fully awake.
Statistically, men are twice as likely to drive and get into an accident while drowsy compared to women. Of those asked, 37 percent said that they have driven while not fully awake at least once in their lifetime. Furthermore, 11 percent have said that they have fallen asleep while behind the wheel at least once in the past year.
The majority of accidents involving tired drivers occur when the vehicle crosses over into another lane of traffic. Each year, an estimated 109,000 crashes involving tired drivers result in a injury. A further 6,400 crashes involving a tired driver are fatal, which represents approximately 21 percent of all fatal crashes annually in the United States. Overall, drowsy drivers are involved in 328,000 crashes per year.
A person who suffers an injury in a car accident caused by a sleep-deprived driver may suffer from chronic pain and permanent disability. The resulting high medical bills, when coupled with the loss of income as a result of not being able to work, can often produce severely adverse financial consequences. A victim may wish to obtain the assistance of an attorney in preparing and filing a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages from the negligent driver who was the cause of the accident.