The end of Daylight Savings Time in early November was the signal that the days are getting shorter. As winter approaches there continues to be less and less daylight hours. This presents a special danger on the highways.
Forbes magazine has reported that, nationwide, 49% of fatal crashes happen at night. The fatality rate per mile of travel is about three times as high as in daytime hours.
Less light causes many drivers to be more fatigued. A National Sleep Foundation poll says 60% of adults have driven while they were tired, and another 37%, or 103 million people, have fallen asleep at the wheel. Of those, 13% say they fall asleep while driving at least once a month, and 4% say they have caused a crash by falling asleep while driving. The reasons are many – shift work, lack of quality sleep, long work hours, sleep disorders – and it doesn’t only happen on lengthy trips.
These numbers are backed up by a report by National Transportation Safety Board (NHTSB) that 100,000 police-reported crashes are a result of driver fatigue. Most crashes or near misses happen at the times you would expect drivers to be tired: 4 to 6 a.m., midnight to 2 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. This also causes increased risks to pedestrians, including kids at play and walking home from school.
Drowsy driving puts everyone on the road in danger. Losing two hours of sleep has the same effect on driving as having three beers, and tired drivers are three times more likely to be in a car crash if they are fatigued.
What’s more, depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision can be compromised in the dark, and the glare of headlights from an oncoming vehicle can temporarily blind a driver. The risks are even higher with the increased incidents of texting and driving these days.
The chance of a tragic accident is the highest on weekends, with fatal crashes peaking on Saturday nights, according to the NTSB. Here we find the increased probability that a driver may be operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Nearly 30 people die every day in crashes that involve an impaired driver.
As we fully enter the holiday season, we hear of so many tragic accidents during one of the most joyful times of the year. The family of attorneys at Tauber Law Offices has dealt with these situations far too often.
While our most sincere hope is that you or a loved one remain safe on our roads, highways and sidewalks, we are here to help you just in case. While nothing can replace a life or a life-changing injury, Tauber Law can take aggressive action if your story involves a case of an irresponsible driver. Call us for a free consultation. We will listen carefully – and with deep empathy – as we determine if you have a case.
All of us at Tauber Law Offices wish you only the very best during the holidays and the New Year to come.
Sources include: National Transportation Safety Board, National Safety Council, Forbes