Drowsy driving can be a challenging driving behavior to uncover. If law enforcement officers notice a car traveling erratically, it may not be obvious if the driver is drunk or merely falling asleep. If police pull that driver over, the driver may have been startled awake by the threat of receiving a citation by the time police get to the car, and there is no roadside chemical test to uncover sleepiness as there is with drug or alcohol intoxication. In order to show the public how dangerous this behavior can be, a group of researchers has recently published a study showing how often drowsy driving is a factor in dangerous crashes.
Researchers study drowsy driving by using video footage
The researchers at AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety used a new approach to uncover how often drowsy drivers were responsible for causing accidents on US roads. These researchers used video footage taken of drivers who agreed to be filmed while they were behind the wheel as participants in a long-term driving habits study. In order to learn whether drivers were drowsy at the time of a crash, the researchers gathered the six seconds of footage taken before drivers were involved in a crash to examine more closely. The researchers used established methods of identifying drowsiness; namely, by slowing down the footage and noting how long drivers’ eyes were closed in a frame-by-frame analysis.
Drowsy driving has big impact on crash rate
The researchers found that between 9% and 9.6% of all drivers showed signs of being drowsy prior to a crash. Accidents involving injury or serious property damage were even more likely to involve a drowsy driver; over 10% of drivers involved in these accidents showed signs of drowsiness.
Drivers who choose to get behind the wheel when they’re too sleepy to drive safely are putting other drivers and roadway occupants at serious risk of injury. When drowsy drivers cause crashes on Oregon roads, victims may be entitled to financial compensation for the costs of their injuries. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you gather evidence that can prove a driver’s drowsiness, such as eyewitnesses who can testify to the driver’s erratic driving prior to the crash, or even surveillance footage that showed the driver nodding off behind the wheel.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an Oregon crash with a drowsy or otherwise dangerous driver, contact the seasoned and professional Bend personal injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, PC for a consultation at 541-617-0555, with additional offices in Eugene, Portland, Roseburg, Medford, and Grants Pass.