Padilla Law Group, LLP

Sleep-deprived drivers are as dangerous as drunk drivers

If you are like most California residents, you wouldn't consider getting behind the wheel after drinking. You know that doing so puts lives in danger. Drunk drivers' abilities diminish to the point where they may not even realize they have crossed over into oncoming traffic, run a red light or stopped in the middle of the street.

You already know this about driving drunk, but it may surprise you to know that you could end up doing the same things if you get behind the wheel when sleep-deprived. The fact of the matter is that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.

Sleep is crucial to safe driving

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study to figure out just how a loss of sleep can affect the ability to drive safely. The data indicates that there is an inverse correlation between the increase in the chance of an accident and the decrease in the number of hours slept as follows:

  • If you only get between six and seven hours of sleep, your risk of an accident increases 1.3 times.
  • If you only get five to six hours of sleep, your risk of an accident increases 1.9 times.
  • If you only get between four and five hours of sleep, the risk increases by 4.3 times.
  • If you get four hours of sleep or less, the risk of crashing jumps to 11.5 times.

Research indicates that most adults need at least seven hours of sleep in order to function and feel rested. Sleep deprivation tends to affect drivers most when they drive early in the morning. These numbers may be even worse because they only cover data from crashes that occur between the hours of 6 a.m. and midnight.

A sleep-deprived driver crashed into your vehicle

Perhaps you found out the hard way that sleep deprivation makes a driver as dangerous as a drunk one. You may be recovering from the injuries caused by the crash and wondering how you will pay your bills since you can't yet return to work or can't return to work at all.

In addition to lost income, you probably have medical bills to pay. Even if you have your own health insurance, it may not cover tens of thousands of dollars' worth of medical care you needed, and continue to need, in the aftermath of the crash. Fortunately, you may be able to pursue compensation for those and other losses you incurred because someone else failed to get a good night's sleep.

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