The most recent statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over 90,000 police-reported collisions involved drowsy driving. Moreover, over 50,000 people suffered injuries in accidents related to drowsy driving. Drowsy driving accounts for a significant number of Maine car accidents. For instance, a recent Maine news report described an accident that occurred when a driver fell asleep at the wheel. According to the report, the driver admitted that he fell asleep while driving in Augusta, Maine. Three pedestrians, a grandmother, her 1-year-old grandchild, and two others were walking northbound in a gravel area when the accident occurred. The driver, who was traveling northbound, swerved into the centerline, slammed into the pedestrians, and then hit a utility pole. Three of the pedestrians, including the 1-year-old, died at the scene of the accident.
Fatigue and drowsy driving are preventable, and those who operate their vehicles in this state and cause an accident may be held liable for the ensuing damages. Tackling the frequency of drowsy driving is challenging, as American values do not always align with avoiding fatigued driving. The emphasis on extended workdays, longer commutes, and daily demands results in many fatigued drivers. However, regardless of societal expectations, individuals need to take responsibility for the health and safety of those on the road.
While fatigue, drowsy, and sleepy driving are often used interchangeably, there are critical differences in how the terms are understood. The overlap makes it hard to quantify exactly how many accidents are related to drowsy driving. However, despite the nuanced differences, accidents involving these conditions have some similarities. Maine drowsy driving accidents typically occur between midnight and 6 a.m. or in the later afternoon. These times of day are associated with a dip in circadian rhythm and typically follow a long workday. Further, drowsy drivers tend to be the only occupant in the car. Finally, accidents involving drowsy drivers typically occur on long highways and rural roads.