Attorney David J. King


Did the other driver get enough sleep last night?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2019 | Firm News

You might even ask yourself this question as you drive through the streets of Sioux Falls. Do you even know anyone who couldn’t benefit from more sleep? These days, quality sleep feels more like a luxury rather than a necessity to many people.

The problem is that driving under these conditions creates a danger similar to that presented by a drunk driver. In fact, if you remain awake for at least 20 hours, your driving abilities become comparable to those of a driver with a .08 blood alcohol concentration level. Yes, you read that right, and that is the legal limit here in South Dakota for BAC.

It’s a bigger problem than you think

The data released by the government attributes drowsy driving to only around 1 or 2 percent of the total crashes across the country each year. However, that shouldn’t give you a reason to ignore the issue since no test exists to determine whether a person fell asleep at the wheel or was impaired by drowsiness like there is for intoxication.

Researchers estimate that nearly 10 percent of the crashes that occur annually across the country result from drowsy drivers. Each year, tens of thousands of people suffer injuries in accidents involving sleep deprivation, and around 1,500 people lose their lives because of it. This may not yet reach the percentages of crashes caused by cell phones or drunk drivers, but it’s enough to merit serious concern.

Of course, once the sun goes down, the likelihood of encountering a drowsy driver only increases. Natural sleep patterns recognize darkness as a cue to go to sleep, and some people do, especially if they did not get adequate sleep the night before or have been awake far too long.

The solution

In a perfect world, every adult would get at least seven hours of sleep per night. That just isn’t always possible for many people, including you. Life tends to interfere with the desire to get a good night’s sleep, and it can make your time on the road a dangerous one. You have no way of knowing whether the drivers in the vehicles around you suffer from sleep deprivation, but you can remain vigilant and watch their driving behaviors in an attempt to anticipate mistakes.

If that isn’t possible, you could end up the victim of one of these drivers. Your injuries could require a substantial amount of recovery time, medical bills and time away from work. You may be able to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim to help cover the financial losses incurred in connection with the crash.