While many car accidents in Georgia are caused by drivers who are reckless, distracted, speeding, negligent or under the influence, an understated problem is drowsy driving. Drivers may not even be aware that they are too tired to drive safely. When there is a collision, the potential that it was due to a drowsy driver is a fundamental consideration.

Given the level of risk with drowsy driving, the first week in November is dedicated to its prevention. A National Sleep Foundation survey found that at least 40% of participants said they fell asleep behind the wheel during their lifetime. Approximately 20% said they did so within the last year. Drivers who are too tired to operate a vehicle safely have reduced reaction times, are limited in hazard awareness and have trouble maintaining attention. If a person has not slept in at least 20 hours, it is the same as driving drunk. Fatigued drivers have triple the chance of being in an accident.

Statistics for drowsy driving accidents vary, but the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that there are around 328,000 accidents annually due to fatigued drivers, of which 6,400 are fatal and 109,000 lead to injury. The true tally of drowsy driving is believed to be 350% higher than reported. To avoid driving while fatigued, it is important to recognize the signs including yawning, difficulty keeping the eyes open, nodding off and suddenly waking up, drifting into other lanes and having trouble remembering the last several miles.

Even with greater attention paid to this issue and safe driving advocates emphasizing the point that drowsy driving might cause injuries and death, it can still happen. For those who have been injured or lost a loved one in a car accident, a full investigation may determine the cause, and a personal injury lawyer might help with a legal filing. Consulting with legal professionals may be critical to receiving compensation for a loss.