In this day and age, it seems almost impossible to find somebody in America who considers themselves to be well-rested. For many people, lack of sleep has simply become the norm. It certainly is not considered to be as dangerous as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But did you know that drowsy driving can actually be just as dangerous as drunk driving?
It may sound ridiculous, but it is the simple truth. In fact, studies by the National Sleep Foundation have shown that driving after being awake for 18 consecutive hours is essentially the same thing as driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.05. Moreover, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that fatigue and drowsy driving cause approximately 850 deaths every year.
Some drivers are more at risk than others. For instance, a recent Harvard study has shown that commercial drivers and truckers are involved in about 20 percent of all drowsy driver accidents—suggesting that they may be at a particularly high risk of “driving while drowsy.”
It is time for drivers all around the country to admit that drowsiness is not just an annoyance, but also a danger. This means confronting and being honest with yourself. You may not feel sleepy when you get behind the wheel, but that does not mean that you are not drowsy. In fact, there are many other early symptoms of drowsiness. These symptoms include but are not limited to bad decision making, missing exits, problems remembering directions, and slowed reaction times.
Drowsiness can be an issue anywhere, any time—day or night. In fact, it is not uncommon for drowsy driving accidents to occur at the beginning or end of the standard workday. But there is good news, too. Auto manufacturers have begun to develop technologies that can help drowsy drivers. Read on to find out more.
So, what exactly is a drowsy driver detection system? Well, it is more or less exactly what it sounds like. No matter how different they may be, all drowsy driver detection systems are based on the same basic type of technology. Usually, this means they are made with machine learning systems. Such systems utilize information from a dashcam or vehicle display system in order to measure your level of fatigue. Once you reach a certain threshold, the system will send an alert to wake you up.
Ideally, once the system wakes you up, you would pull over to rest until you are truly good and ready to drive. After all, as anyone can tell you, an alarm can really only be so useful—at the end of the day, you still need to have enough energy to dredge yourself up. The most effective drowsy driver detection systems are built directly into the vehicle, where they can monitor long-term behavior and even certain facial expressions. They may even be able to measure how long you are on the road, along with the time of day. In contrast, battery-operated drowsy driver detection systems have far more limitations. They may only be able to monitor certain indications of dozing off, such as head movements.
There are many different drowsy driver detection systems on the market today, most of which are based upon an algorithm. The algorithm will essentially start logging your behavior in order to establish a standard to measure you by. It can take a variety of factors into account, such as movements and facial expressions.
There are certain common indicators of fatigue that an algorithm may know to look out for. For example, many drivers use abrupt and quick movements when they are fatigued. They may also have a light hand on the steering wheel. And, of course, their eyes may begin to close or get lower. Your alarm will go off once your driving behavior begins to veer from your established standard and closer into “fatigued” territory.
There is currently only a total of three auto manufacturers offering such technology built into their vehicles. These manufacturers are Volvo, Mercedes, and Audi. But any interested party may be able to implement drowsy driver detection technology into their own cars through certain store-bought products.
Of course, no prevention method is totally foolproof. That is just a simple, unfortunate fact of life. It is possible to do everything right and still have something to go wrong—especially if someone else is acting negligently on the road. That is why it is still important to know what to do if you are involved in a drowsy driving accident in the state of Colorado.
Like in any other type of car accident, you will want to exchange information with all involved parties immediately. This means exchanging insurance information, license plate numbers, contact information, and anything else that may be relevant. You will also want to begin documenting evidence immediately. Take photographs of any property damage or personal injury you incurred as a result of the accident. It may help to document the accident scene as well.
You will also want to call the police to the scene and file an accident report. This is a very important piece of evidence that may be able to do wonders for your case. You should also get to a medical professional as soon as you can—regardless of whether or not you feel you have sustained any serious injuries.
Finally, dealing with insurance companies can be difficult. This is true even if you feel you were clearly the victim of your accident. It can be incredibly easy to say things that insurance companies may intentionally misconstrue as admissions of guilt. Speaking to a trusted drowsy driving accident lawyer may help.
It can feel difficult and overwhelming to take care of an auto accident claim on your own, especially if you do not have a full and comprehensive understanding of the law. You need someone on your side you can trust. Fortunately, you do not have to go through it alone.
If you or a loved one have recently been involved in a car accident, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country.
You should never have to pay for somebody else’s mistakes. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our trusted nationwide auto accident attorneys. We have helped countless clients successfully resolve their automobile accident cases. We can help you too. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you rightfully deserve.