Archive for January, 2013

South Carolina Residents Face Dangers from Drowsy Driving

Every day, some drivers throughout South Carolina may find themselves struggling as they drive along the road, eyes starting to feel heavy, trying hard to stay awake and focus on their tasks behind the wheel. These drowsy drivers may be morning commuters or may be on long trips or coming home after a long day at work. Unfortunately, in some cases, these drivers even succumb to sleep, letting their eyes close just for a second. It is a scenario familiar to far too many people, and it is a very serious public health issue.

Our Columbia car accident attorneys are concerned that this drowsy driving scenario plays out thousands of times each year in South Carolina. A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and reported by South Carolina News 10 illustrates just how widespread the problem of fatigued driving has become. Other federal statistics also indicate that drowsy driving can be very dangerous. 

Drowsy Driving a Top Concern for South Carolina Residents

According to South Carolina News 10, there is plenty of reason for drivers to be worried about the risks of fatigued driving. They reported on frightening statistics from federal agencies including data demonstrating that:

  • 2.5 percent of fatal car accidents involve a drowsy driver.  Drowsy driving crashes may be more likely to be deadly because sleeping drivers who are involved in them do not react to try to stave off the most severe crashes. For example, they don’t slow down or hit the brakes to diminish the force at which the cars collide, and they don’t swerve to avoid hitting another vehicle directly. This data, on the number of deaths, may actually not reflect the full number of drowsy driving crashes either since it can be difficult to determine if a driver was fatigued and since the data reporting methods on drowsy driving aren’t always accurate. The real numbers may be closer to 15-33 percent of fatal accidents.
  • Drowsy driving contributes to another 2 percent of crashes that cause injury but not death.
  • A large-scale CDC study of almost 150,000 drivers indicates that 4 percent of people had driven while drowsy in the 30 days prior to completing the survey.
  • CDC data also indicated that 1 of every 24 people said they’d fallen asleep at lease one time when they were driving in the prior month immediately before the survey.  CDC data may also underestimate how many people are falling asleep because some people may doze off for just a second and not be aware of it.

These statistics are frightening, especially considering how many people drive in South Carolina every day. Every driver in Columbia is potentially at risk of being hurt in a drowsy driving crash and it is important that you do everything possible to avoid getting into a wreck. One way to protect yourself is to make sure you never engage in drowsy driving. Of course, you can’t impact how other people behave and you can’t stop other people from driving when they are too tired. The only thing you can do in these situations is try to steer clear of drivers who seem as if they are not driving safely and to take legal action if a drowsy driver does cause you harm.

If you have been involved in a drowsy driving crash, contact the Columbia South Carolina auto accident attorneys at Matthews & Megna today at 877-253-7705. We have been handling and winning tough cases in the Columbia, Darlington and Florence, South Carolina area for more than two decades.