Are West Virginia Drivers Falling Asleep at the Wheel?

Feb 2013

Car accidents are a top cause of death in the United States, and there are a lot of reasons for this unfortunate statistic. Most people are aware, for example, that drunk drivers on the road pose a menace to the safety of all drivers. However, studies show some other drivers are just as dangerous as intoxicated drivers. These drivers are people who are too tired to think clearly and act quickly and who, in many cases, are literally falling asleep at the wheel.

Our West Virginia accident attorneys have recently taken a close look at a new study that was designed to reveal how many drowsy drivers are on the roads throughout the United States. The study contains some important details on the dangers of drowsy driving that everyone in West Virginia needs to be aware of.

Drivers are Dozing Off  Throughout the U.S.

The recent study on drowsy driving was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With more than 147,000 people surveyed, the study was the largest ever performed on the subject of drowsy driving.  It was conducted via the telephone and people in 19 states in the U.S. received telephone calls, as well as people in Washington, D.C.

The questions asked via the telephone survey requested that respondents share details about their sleeping habits, about their work schedules, and about their behavior when they were driving. One of the key questions asked in the study was whether the responding driver had fallen asleep behind the wheel any time during the past 30 days. Falling asleep was defined as nodding off or closing the eyes even for a few seconds.

The study results were surprising and upsetting, especially in light of the fact that many drivers may fall asleep for just a split second and are not even aware of it. Despite the fact that the numbers may have been underreported, far too many people said they had dozed off in the 30 days before answering the phone survey. For example:

  • Of all drivers surveyed, 4.2 percent said that they had fallen asleep.
  • Of all male drivers surveyed, 5.3 percent said they had fallen asleep.
  • Of all female drivers surveyed, 3.2 percent said they had fallen asleep.
  • For drivers ages 18-44, 4.9 percent said they had fallen asleep.
  • For drivers over 65, 1.7 percent said they had fallen asleep.
  • For drivers who were retired, only 1 percent said they had fallen asleep.

The data revealed that sleep habits played a big role in whether a driver had dozed off or not, with those who snored or who got less than 6 hours of sleep per night more likely to admit to drowsy driving. Educational attainment, on the other hand, was not a factor that had an impact on dozing off.

Unfortunately, as these statistics show, there are lots of drowsy drivers out there — including right here in West Virginia. These drivers put themselves and everyone else in a position where the chances of a crash are much higher.

If you’ve been in an auto accident in West Virginia, contact the personal injury attorneys at Recht Law Office at 1-800-HURTLINE.

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