Half of all drivers admit to driving while drowsy in Florida and nationally, and one in three say they have actually dozed off behind the wheel.
The result: injuries and deaths in auto accidents.
One such incident occurred on Interstate 95 last June 2. A sleeping driver crashed into a concrete barrier, then swerved into a Jupiter Police Department patrol car, which ran off the road and rolled over.
According to WPTV news, the police reported that a man hit a concrete barrier wall after he fell asleep while behind the wheel on I-95. The vehicle crashed into the patrol car of Officer Jason Stark, who was also traveling on the same highway.
The patrol car flipped over several times before finally resting on the side of the road. The officer was immediately brought to the hospital, and was luckily not seriously injured. He was released later in the day.
The incident was captured on the police officer’s dash-cam. It can be viewed here.
Seven Things to Know About Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving – also referred to as fatigued driving – causes about 56,000 vehicle crashes each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A study by the NHTSA and the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research showed that drowsy driving adversely affects a driver’s reaction time, vigilance, attention and information processing.
Here are some other facts:
- Drowsy driving accidents cause an estimated 1,500 deaths and 40,000 injuries annually.
- One in 10 drivers say they have nodded off at the wheel within the past month. This adds up to about 7.5 million sleeping drivers – or 4 percent of the driving population.
- Young drivers ages 16 to 29 are most likely to drive while tired. Drivers under the age of 25 cause more than half of the crashes involving drowsiness.
- People who work the third shift, work long shifts or have irregular hours are at risk of fatigued driving.
- Commercial drivers and long-haul truckers are also at risk.
- Anyone injured in a drowsy-driving crash in Florida is entitled to a free consultation with a Florida auto accident attorney.