Drowsy drivers in South Carolina may not realize the risks that they are taking. Although most people recognize the dangers of drinking and driving, sleepiness impairs driving in a similar manner. Drowsiness reduces a driver's reaction times and ability to monitor the road. Twenty hours without sleep mimics the intoxication level of a person with a .08 blood alcohol concentration. For this reason, safety advocates say fatigue increases the chances of getting in a wreck by threefold.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drowsy driving causes approximately 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries every year. These figures, however, are dependent on police reports, and responding officers might not know that sleep deprivation impaired a driver. A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association put the number of deaths at about 5,000 for 2015. When the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety looked at the problem, however, its researchers concluded that drowsy drivers were responsible for 109,000 injuries and 6,400 fatalities annually.
People often have trouble noticing when drowsiness is overtaking their ability to drive safely. Signs of drowsiness include excessive yawning, inability to keep eyes open, forgetting the last few miles, missing turns, a drooping head and drifting out of the lane.
Symptoms like these should prompt a responsible driver to stop. This precaution could prevent car accidents and spare liability. When a person does get hurt in a crash caused by a drowsy driver, the representation of an attorney could support the recovery of damages. Legal counsel could relieve an accident victim of the burden of gathering evidence, filing court papers and negotiating with an insurance company. The efforts of an attorney could result in the client collecting compensation that reduces the financial hardship that resulted from the crash.