How awake are you while you drive? In the age of burning the candle at both ends, many Americans are chronically sleep deprived. Unfortunately, as a result, being drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel is a huge problem for American drivers. This is such a big problem that one website, DrowsyDriving.org, is completely devoted to raising awareness of driving while fatigued. This website is run by the National Sleep Foundationm, which reflects how much of a widespread problem this phenomenon is.
Have you ever wondered how many tractor-trailer and large vehicle accidents occur on the road each year? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has compiled data from 1975-2014 to track trends in vehicle safety and crashes. Here are some of the highlights of their findings:
Summer is a prime time for families to hit the road and enjoy the American tradition of a summer road trip vacation. Often, we share the roads with large tractor-trailers. Unfortunately, sometimes drivers of these trucks are not following best safety practices. These drivers are sometimes engaged in dangerous habits, such as distracted driving and operating their truck while fatigued. Equally as alarming is a recent study that was highlighted by Reuters. According their article, truck drivers across countries sometimes also take illegal drugs and then drive their vehicles. This information, compiled via drivers self-reports and through results of drug testings, found that " about half [of truck drivers] admitted to drinking and driving and 30 percent admitted to using amphetamines, on average. The numbers varied greatly from country to country." However, the article also noted that "One U.S. study had the highest frequency of positive alcohol tests worldwide, at 12.5 percent."
Although all age groups are guilty of distracted driving, a new study by AAA notes that young millennials (ages 18-24) are engaging in many risky behaviors while driving. Almost 90% of drivers in this age group reported eating, video chatting, texting, and other activities while driving that can be considered "distracted driving". Although these risky behaviors did appear to decrease with age, all age groups were engaged in some degree of distracted/risky activities while driving. According to one report, distracted driving was responsible for about 11% of wrecks in PA over the last five years. In 2015, that means that about 15,000 wrecks occurred due to distracted driving.
Commercial truck drivers are a significant cause of motor vehicle accidents . Often, these commercial drivers are fatigued and are driving above the mandated allotment of hours. Additionally, many of them are driving large vehicles that are not up to federal and state safety standards. As a result, passengers and other vehicles often bear the brunt of their illegal activity and are often seriously injured or die from a resulting collision. If you have been injured or a loved one has died as a result of a commercial vehicle accident, please contact our law office for a consultation at no cost to you at the Law Offices of Attorney Doug Stoehr at 814-946-4100.
Unfortunately, our state just received another sobering reminder of what can happen if you engage in distracted driving. According to news reports, a teenager was live-streaming herself on Facebook while driving. Right after she started streaming, she was hit by a tractor-trailer that killed both her and her passenger. The video was taken off the victim's Facebook page and will be used in the state police investigation.
Are you alert and awake while you drive? Being drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel is a huge problem for American drivers. Needless to say, this causes significant safety and health risks for you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road. One website, DrowsyDriving.org, is completely devoted to raising awareness of driving while sleepy. It is an off-shoot of the National Sleep Foundation.