According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), sleep regulation is caused by two systems: sleep-wake homeostasis, which acts as a body timer for sleep when a sleep deficit accrues, and circadian rhythm, which is a body’s biological clock that regulates periods of alertness and drowsiness throughout the day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowsy driving crashes occur between 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. to 4 p.m. and midnight to 2:00 a.m. Driving when we are meant to be asleep increases our risk for a car accident. Some drivers may be more susceptible to a drowsy driving accident:
Teens Are at High Risk for Drowsy Driving Accidents
Teens need more sleep than adults. The NSF recommends eight to 10 hours of sleep. However, with a busy schedule, most teens will not get this much sleep each night. To combat teen driving crashes, states have established driving curfews for new drivers. In California, a teen driver cannot drive from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for the first 12 months of having their license.
Even so, according to the NSF, a teen’s circadian rhythm makes them most drowsy between 3:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. If a teen is sleep-deprived, then they could be drowsy until 10:00 a.m. With the majority of teens driving to school during this time, it puts them at a higher risk for drowsy driving.
Night-shift Workers Are at High Risk for Drowsy Driving Accidents
Many job industries require night-shift or overnight workers. A few examples include the medical industry, public security, restaurant industry and retail industry. Many people who work late or overnight hours have sleep schedules that are out of sync with their body’s biological clock. This puts them at a higher risk for drowsy driving accidents during their commute home from work.
Commercial Drivers Are at High Risk for Drowsy Driving Accidents
Commercial drivers spend most of their time driving long distances. Many of them drive in the dark during late night and early morning hours. Driving during these hours makes commercial drivers more susceptible to an accident because they are interrupting the body’s natural instinct to sleep. Monotonous activity, lack of breaks and potential sleep-deprivation can be a deadly combination. The federal government and state governments have tried to combat truck accidents through hours of service regulations. For instance, in California, an intrastate driver cannot drive more than 12 cumulative hours without taking a 10-hour break.
People With Untreated Sleep Disorders Are at High Risk for Drowsy Driving Accidents
Sleep-deprivation has many negative effects on a person, including but not limited to impaired focus, learning, reaction time and judgment. If you do not get enough sleep during the night, then you are already at a higher risk for a drowsy driving crash. Unfortunately, the majority of people have an occasional bad night of sleep. If it becomes a regular occurrence, though, then it could be a more serious problem. Do you struggle to fall asleep? When you do fall asleep, do you wake up throughout the night? Are you tired most of each day? These could be signs of a sleep disorder.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a vehicle accident caused by a drowsy driver, contact the car accident attorneys at The Brandi Law Firm. Call us at (800) 425-1986 to discuss your situation and determine whether you have a viable claim to recover compensation.