In 2015, motor vehicle deaths in the United States were up 7.7 percent. According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, drowsy driving results in 5,000 of those deaths each year that lead to societal costs of $109 billion. Drowsy driving may be especially dangerous because the full extent of the problem is not yet understood. This is partially because there are no set procedures for law enforcement to determine if a driver is drowsy.
It is also because a driver may not readily admit that he or she is drowsy after a crash. While it may be difficult to determine if drowsy driving causes a particular accident, it has been deemed a form of impaired driving by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This means it is considered as dangerous as driving while drunk, while distracted or while under the influence of drugs.
There are many ways that states are trying to combat drowsy driving, but public education is seen as the key. Public awareness is cited as the best way for people to take the issue as seriously as they do drunken driving or using a seat belt. Increased data collection, better law enforcement and changes to workplace policies are also cited as strategies to combat drowsy driving.
Individuals who are hurt in car collisions that are caused by a sleep-deprived driver often suffer serious injuries that require extensive medical care and treatment. Although proving that the motorist was drowsy may be difficult, personal injury attorneys representing victims will attempt to do so through the use of eyewitness testimony and other evidence.