Government agency announces new plans to target drowsy driving

A government agency recently announced plans to raise awareness about drowsy driving to ultimately reduce fatigue-related collisions.

Drowsy driving is a serious problem on the roads in Illinois and throughout the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is estimated that fatigued driving is a factor in approximately 100,000 fatal or injurious car accidents every year. Despite drowsy driving's threat to drivers, passengers and pedestrians, it still receives less attention than distracted driving and drunk driving.

To raise awareness about the dangers of drowsy driving, the Chicago Tribune states that the federal government recently announced new plans to combat this accident threat. This new initiative will ultimately determine the extent of the fatigued driving problem and help the public become more aware of its dangers. It will also determine whether or not laws catered specifically to drowsy driving are needed.

What the program will entail

Officials already recognize that raising awareness about drowsy driving and hopefully decreasing its prevalence will be a difficult task. This is because in many fatal crashes, it is hard to determine if fatigue was a factor. Additionally, in these collisions, the driver is often by his or herself and skid marks on the roadway usually do not exist. However, officials say that part of this new safety campaign will include teaching law enforcement officials to look for certain clues while investigating accidents that indicate a driver could have fallen asleep.

To reduce the number of drowsy driving-related accidents that often result in emotional distress and physical harm, officials say that they will also develop strategies that specifically target populations that are vulnerable to driving fatigued. Additionally, driver aids that can detect when a person starts to feel sleepy, like rumble strips on the roads and innovative algorithms, will be comprehensively examined to determine the role they play in preventing fatigued driving.

Drowsiness' effect on drivers

Although many drivers may already realize that falling asleep behind the wheel is dangerous, many are unaware that fatigue can still affect their ability to drive safely. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a fatigued driver:

  • Is less observant of what is occurring around him or her
  • Has a compromised ability to make decisions
  • May be unable to react properly to certain driving situations

When a driver has not had any sleep for 18 hours, he or she will also experience an impairment level that is similar to a person with a blood alcohol content level of 0.05. When a person is awake for 24 hours, his or her level of impairment is equivalent to driving with a BAC level of 0.10.

Seeking compensation

Drivers in Illinois who are injured in an accident caused by a fatigued or negligent driver may have a hard time returning to work or their normal daily activities. If you were injured in a car accident, turn to an attorney to determine what compensation may be available to you.

Keywords: drowsy, driving, accident, injury