Drowsy driving rampant on the roads, report suggests

To steal a line from the legendary Willy Wonka, there’s so little time and so much to do. This may explain why many of us have racked up a significant sleep debt – lawyers included – a major blow to good health and well-being, as experts recommend getting at least seven hours of solid rest per night.

It would be one thing if our actions didn’t have consequences, but not only does insufficient shuteye diminish productivity, but it can put others in mortal jeopardy. Drowsy driving is routinely among the most frequent causes of deadly highway accidents and crashes that result in injuries per year, which many law firms may be well aware given their caseload.

But based on a newly released poll, you may be surprised by how common nodding off at the wheel actually is among the motoring public.

Millions are nodding off while driving

Over the average two-week period, approximately seven million drivers fall asleep while they’re piloting a vehicle, according to the results of a new research detailed and discovered by the National Sleep Foundation.

The study, led by NSF research fellow Kristen Knutson, Ph.D., was carried out over 14 days as part of NSF’s quarterly “Sleep Health Index” analysis, where the Washington-based non-profit makes an assessment of the nation’s sleep health through analysis and survey research once every three months.

“Americans feel rested only four days per week.”

With seven million Americans copping to the fact that they’ve dozed while driving, that translates to roughly three percent of the population, the report said. Additionally, the SHI also revealed that respondents in the study felt like they’d had enough time in bed only four days in the previous week.

Knutson noted that this fact alone indicates the seven million statistic may not be truly reflective of how many people aren’t sleeping enough, nor the regularity with which motorists take to the wheel on little to no rest.

“Three days out of the week the average American is not well-rested, which has implications for productivity, well-being, mood, health, and of course, driving,” Knutson warned. “This suggests that the occurrence of drowsy driving is likely underreported.”

Fatal car accidents up 7 percent from 2014

Driver behavior is the main reason why car accidents happen as often as they do, and while crashes occur less frequently than they used to, they rose in 2015, up 7 percent from the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of the 35,092 deadly car accidents, approximately 6,400 were linked to drowsy driving, based on the NSF’s data.

It isn’t just the National Sleep Foundation and primary care physicians who are calling on Americans to make seven to eight hours of rest each night a priority. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society are making similar entreaties. In June, 15 of the nation’s leading authorities on sleep issued a consensus statement in the journal SLEEP, noting that seven or more hours of sleep per night was a must for adults to live a normal, well-balanced life.

“Sleep is critical to health, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise,” said Nathaniel Watson, AASM president and consensus panel moderator. “Our consensus panel found that sleeping six or fewer hours per night is inadequate to sustain health and safety in adults, and agreed that seven or more hours of sleep per night is recommended for all healthy adults.”

“Willful negligence is grounds for a lawsuit.”

Willful negligence is grounds for a lawsuit, and motorists who are deemed at fault in a car accident due to drowsiness may be brought to court if the case can’t be settled. However, in order to establish proof of negligent behavior, a lengthy discovery process may be required that takes money to connect the dots as clearly as possible to the judge or jury.

If your client has been injured in a car accident but you’re short on spending, Global Financial may be able to help. We specialize in financing justice and we’re able to do it through our customized cash advance process, the safe, convenient alternative to a lawsuit loan.

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