Not all car accidents caused by drowsy driving involve a driver who has fallen asleep. Being tired in itself is enough to worsen a driver’s reaction times, and a study found that people are three times as likely to get into an accident if they are tired. People who go more than 20 hours without sleeping, like some truck drivers, are considered to be as dangerous as someone driving with a BAC of .08%.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says police report about 100,000 crashes per year that they attribute to driving drowsy. Presumably, most people involved in an accident will not admit that they were too tired to drive, and not all accidents are reported to the police. Thus, it is not surprising that the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety believes that the actual number of drowsy driving accidents is more than three times what is reported by police.
Young drivers are believed to comprise half of all tired driving accidents, which is not surprising given their relative inexperience. Regardless of age, fatigued driving can result in injury or death: the NHTSA believes that tired driving costs society $109 billion per year, excluding property damage. One reason for the costs is that people injured in an accident often need medical care. People who are hurt in a motor vehicle accident may want to consult with a personal injury attorney about whether they can get these expenses paid by another driver.