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Drowsy Driving Among Young Drivers

February 25, 2020

Young drivers are more apt to fall asleep behind the wheel, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) reports that each year, approximately 100,000 police-reported car accidents involve drowsy driving, 50 percent of those crashes are caused by young drivers under the age of 25. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving, especially when combined with inexperience; being awake for 24 hours is like having a blood alcohol content of .10 percent.

Young Drivers Are More Likely to Drive Drowsy

Most drivers are aware of the dangers associated with drunk driving but do not realize that driving while fatigued can have similar effects, such as slowed reaction time, decreased awareness, and impaired judgment. According to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, young drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 are nearly twice as likely to be involved in a drowsy driving crash compared to those that are 40 to 59 years old.

Why Are Young Drivers Sleep Deprived?

Youths need eight to ten hours of sleep each night to function optimally. However, it is reported that only about eight percent of youths are getting the proper amount of sleep. There are many reasons why young drivers are so sleep deprived, including:

  • Balancing school and extra-curricular activities: Balancing school and extra-curricular activities may lead youths to sacrifice sleep in order to keep up with their hectic schedules.
  • Difficulty sleeping: Youths have more difficulty falling asleep due to their circadian rhythms and their production of melatonin.
  • School schedule: Students must rise early in the morning to go to school.
  • Electronic devices: Youths often use electronic devices late at night, which emits a blue light that suppresses the production of melatonin.

Preventing Drowsy Driving Crashes

The best way to avoid a drowsy driving crash is to get adequate sleep. On average, youths need more sleep than adults and should get no less than eight hours of sleep per night. Also, young drivers should look out for the signs of fatigue, including:

  • Difficulty keeping your head up
  • Drifting out of your lane
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Missing signs or exits
  • Trouble focusing
  • Daydreaming
  • Yawning repeatedly

Those who exhibit the signs of fatigue should pull over to a safe spot and take a short 20-minute nap before continuing their drive; sticking to a sleep schedule can ensure that youths are well-rested prior to beginning their commute. Other tips for preventing drowsy driving crashes include crash avoidance technology, such as drowsiness alert, a lane departure warning system, and a driver monitoring system. Participating in drowsy driving education programs are also helpful.

Virginia Beach Car Crash Lawyers Advocate for Those Injured in Drowsy Driving Accidents

If you were injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but you must file your personal injury claim within the statute of limitations, which is two years from the accident date. Our experienced Virginia Beach car crash lawyers will help you with filing a claim. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we will fight tirelessly to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 757-352-2237 to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk.

Areas We Serve

Our law firm proudly serves clients injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina on personal injury claims, including cases with traumatic brain injury, spinal and neck injury, wrongful death, and more serious injuries. As Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys with many years experience, our team of lawyers will be ready to fight for you. If you were injured on the job, our Virginia Beach Workers Compensation lawyers are ready to serve you.

Call 757-352-2237 or fill out the online contact form for a free consultation about your personal injury, workers compensation, or other attorney services. Our firm adopts a team approach to every case, so while one primary lawyer will be assigned to your case, you have the benefit of an experienced team of lawyers, all working on your side. We are located in Virginia Beach, VA, and serve clients who were injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina.

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Virginia Beach VA 23452
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