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Driver fatigue is a significant cause of auto accidents

Virginia drivers face a greater risk of getting into an accident if they've been getting less than seven hours of sleep a night. A study from the AAA Foundation concluded that every lost hour of sleep raises a driver's crash risk. People who only sleep for five or six hours double their accident risk compared to those who get a full eight hours of rest. When sleep times go down to four hours, the chances of getting into a wreck quadruple.

Other research attributed 7 percent of all motor vehicle accidents to drowsy drivers. Nationwide, that percentage represents approximately 330,000 accidents per year. When looking only at fatal accidents, sleepy drivers contributed to 16 percent of them.

Poor sleep habits are widespread throughout the population. Surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation reveal that about one-third of adults do not get the recommended seven hours of sleep. Interviews with drivers involved in accidents indicate that serious sleep deprivation equates to heavy alcohol consumption. Those who report getting fewer than four hours of sleep face a crash risk 15.1 times greater than well-rested people. This crash probability resembles the risks of driving after consuming roughly nine alcoholic drinks.

Even if a sleepy person manages to stay awake behind the wheel, fatigue reduces their ability to monitor the road, judge traffic correctly and react to sudden events. When a drowsy driver causes a crash, a victim might pursue damages through a personal injury claim. An attorney familiar with car accidents could guide a victim through the process of collecting evidence about negligence, filing insurance claims and going to court if necessary. With legal support, a client might gain an adequate settlement even from an uncooperative insurance company.

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