Sleep deprivation appears to correlate to an increased risk of crashing a car, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Michigan residents may be aware that getting an insufficient number of hours of sleep each day has been previously linked to depression and weight gain, but following a report released on Dec. 6, traffic safety officials are warning that motorists are not yet fully cognizant of the dangers that are inherent in drowsy driving.
An analysis performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that more than a third of all Americans do not receive the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night, and prior research suggests that such sleep deprivation may be contributing to increasingly catastrophic results on the roadway. Sleep-deprived drivers are involved in approximately 20 percent of all deadly crashes that occur in this country. The number of fatal accidents that were recorded in 2015 alone showed an increase of 7.2 percent over corresponding numbers for 2014.
Findings in 2016 suggest a sharp division in the crash rate between drivers who get at least seven hours of sleep per night and drivers who sleep only five or six hours. Those in the latter group are believed to be twice as likely to have an accident as those who receive the minimum recommended number of hours of sleep or more. The crash rate for drivers who only sleep four or five hours per night is reportedly even higher and is believed to be close to that of drivers who are drunk behind the wheel.
Michigan residents who are seriously injured in car accidents involving sleep-deprived drivers may be entitled to financial compensation for losses such as medical and rehabilitation expenses, loss of future wages and pain and suffering. An attorney could work to help each affected client navigate the legal process and achieve an outcome that might ultimately prove to be beneficial.