Federal Stats Underestimate Scope Of Drowsy Driving Danger Study Says
Analyzing the incidence of drowsy driving accidents
In an effort to gain a clearer picture of driver drowsiness just before the occurrence of collisions, a team of researchers analyzed data obtained through a naturalistic driving study. Over a period of a several months between October of 2010 and December of 2013, the study’s participants were monitored using equipment, including cameras, while operating their personal vehicles. Employing the PERCLOS measure, the researchers coded and examined a total of 701 qualifying accidents.
Used to predict lapses in attention and drowsiness, the PERCLOS method measures the percent of time over a specified interval that people’s eyes are unopened. If a driver’s eyes were closed in at least 12 percent of the frames during the three-minutes or one-minute before an accident, he or she was classified as drowsy.
Drivers are drowsy more often than is recorded
Based on the study’s findings, drowsiness-involved collisions are significantly more common than the federal estimates suggest. The researchers noted driver drowsiness in 8.8 percent to 9.5 percent of all collisions, minor to severe. Of the accidents analyzed by the researchers that were severe enough to warrant reporting to the authorities, between 10.6 percent and 10.8 percent involved drowsy drivers. This difference may be, at least in part, due to their being no testing methods, such as a breathalyzer, to assess driver drowsiness. Further, after being involved in a collision, motorists may appear alert despite having been previously fatigued, and are often unwilling to divulge such information to law enforcement.
Seeking legal guidance
Due to drowsy driving accidents in California, people may suffer serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment and force them to take extended time off work to recover. In addition to causing physical pain and suffering, these injuries often result in undue medical bills, lost income and other such losses. Depending on the situation, however, drowsy drivers may be held liable for such damages. Therefore, those who have been injured in auto wrecks may benefit from consulting with a lawyer to determine their rights and options for pursuing compensation.