Researchers at the George Institute for Global Health have completed a study which has found that young drivers who do not get adequate sleep nightly significantly increase their chances of getting into a traffic accident. The study confirms findings about fatigued driving already known, but it is one of few studies to focus specifically on younger drivers.
Researchers in the study polled 19,327 motorists between the ages of 17 and 24 between 2003 and 2004. The study found that young motorists who self-reported getting six hours or less sleep hours nightly also had a higher rate of car accidents when compared with motorists in the same age group who slept for longer hours. The study was headed by Dr. Alexandra L.C. Martiniuk and was published in JAMA Pediatrics.
According to Dr. Martiniuk and her team, young motorists who were sleep deprived during the weekends had a higher risk of being in car collisions but also had a higher risk for single-car accidents. The hours between 8 pm and 6 am were especially dangerous for younger sleep-deprived motorists.
According to some safety experts, the study data confirms the dangers of sleep-deprived driving for younger motorists. Some authorities note that younger drivers may already be at risk for car accidents in Hollywood and other communities because they have less driving experience. When you add fatigue to that risk factor, the problem is compounded.
For younger drivers, school pressures and other age-related problems can lead to sleep deprivation and poor sleep patterns. Teen years and young adult years are often a time of stress and change, and this can lead to interruptions in sleep patterns. Unfortunately, lack of adequate sleep can easily lead to a serious or even fatal accident.
Sleep deprivation is known to be a factor in many car and truck accidents in Hollywood and across the country. When a driver is fatigued, they have poor motor skills and response times, making it harder for them to avoid collisions. In addition, fatigued drivers may fall asleep at the wheel or may enter into very short sleep cycles, which can cause them to lose control of the car.
Authorities say that both young drivers and their parents have a role to play in preventing traffic collisions in Hollywood and other communities. Teens need to be made aware of the risks of fatigued driving. If sleep disorders are an issue, a visit to a doctor can help determine whether there are any physical ailments that may be causing sleep problems. If not, better time management and stress reduction techniques may be needed to ensure that motorists get the rest they need. Young motorists also need to be aware of the symptoms of fatigued driving. These can include:
•Eyes going out of focus or blinking often
•Eyes drifting closed
•Unfocused or wandering thoughts
•Drifting into another lane of traffic or the shoulder of the road
•Swerving of the car or sudden slowing down
•Slumping forward in the car seat
•Not remembering the last few minutes of driving
Any of these can be signs that a driver is so tired that they are a danger on the road. In this situation, it is best to pull over. Parents and teens can sign a pledge similar to the no drunk driving pledge. Many families have agreements designed to prevent drunk driving accidents in Hollywood and other communities. These pledges allow a young driver to call family for a safe ride home, no questions asked, rather than risk driving under the influence. Families can have a similar arrangement for fatigued driving. If a young driver is too tired to drive safely, they can call home for a safe drive home, no questions asked.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Hollywood, contact the Flaxman Law Group for a free case review. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible to seek compensation for your injuries.