Drowsy Drivers Pose Serious Risk on Illinois Roads, Study Says

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that drowsy driving accidents occur more often than federal reports suggest.

While they are aware of the risks of speeding or drinking and driving, people often overlook the dangers of drowsy driving. However, collisions involving drowsiness commonly occur in Illinois and elsewhere. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were 775 traffic-related deaths involving drowsy drivers in 2018 - representing 2.1% of all motor vehicle accident fatalities that year. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drowsy driving accidents may be more prevalent than reported.

Why is Drowsy Driving Hazardous?

Like alcohol consumption, drowsiness is an impairment for drivers. Being sleepy or fatigued may affect a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that drowsiness may slow motorists' reaction times, impact their judgment, and make them less attentive.

Studying Drowsy Driving Collisions

Annual records from NHTSA’s FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System) and CRSS (Crash Report Sampling System) from 2016 to 2018 show that there were over 96,000 police-reported car accidents involving drowsy drivers. These incidents injured over 52,000 people and killed 800.

The AAA Foundation conducted a large-scale study about the prevalence of drowsy driving crashes in the United States. It was inspired by the cumulative result of many studies that show that there are far more drowsy driving accidents than the official records say. The AAA study was conducted on 3500 people who were monitored for a period of several months using in-vehicle surveillance and other data-gathering equipment. Drowsiness was measured based on the percentage of time a person’s eyes were closed while driving.

The study yielded results that showed that drowsiness was a factor in up to 9.5% of all the examined crashes. It also determined that up to 10.8% of the car crashes that resulted in significant property damage involved drowsy drivers. That percentage is significantly larger than the reported 1-2%.

If you look at the 2020 Crash Facts and Statistics report from the Illinois Department of Transportation, you will see that 246,752 car crashes were documented in Illinois in 2020. That breaks down to an average of 676 car accidents per day. If we apply the AAA study’s percentage estimates, this would mean that about 65 crashes a day in Illinois involve drowsy driving. That is a serious problem.

How to Reduce Drowsy Driving Accidents

Because drowsy driving puts you at serious risk of crashing, it’s important that you try everything you can to avoid driving while tired. Here are some suggestions to help you prevent drowsiness while on the road:

  • Get enough sleep: Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, while teenagers and young adults need 8-10 hours.
  • Avoid driving during your usual sleep hours: Try to avoid driving between midnight and 6 a.m. when your body is naturally programmed to sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness: Even small amounts of alcohol can impair your driving ability, and some prescription and over-the-counter medications can make you drowsy.
  • Have a travel companion: A passenger can help monitor your alertness and take over driving duties if you become too tired.
  • Be aware of the signs of drowsy driving: This includes yawning, blinking frequently, feeling restless, having trouble remembering the last few miles driven, and drifting between lanes. Take appropriate action if you feel drowsy. Pull over in a safe place, drink caffeine, and take a nap if necessary. A short nap of 20-30 minutes can help restore alertness.
  • Educate others: Share information about the dangers of drowsy driving with friends, family, and coworkers, and encourage them to adopt safe driving practices.

Remember, the best way to prevent drowsy driving accidents is to prioritize getting enough sleep and being aware of your body's natural sleep patterns. If you experience chronic sleep problems, consult a healthcare provider for guidance and treatment options.

Seek Legal Guidance from an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

The injuries people in Illinois suffer because of drowsy driving accidents can have devastating effects on them and their families. They may require medical care, which may lead to unexpected expenses. Additionally, they may lose income while off work recovering, which may affect their ability to provide for themselves and their families. People who have been injured in such collisions will benefit from working with an attorney. Our car accident attorneys can help ensure your rights are upheld and advise you of your options for pursuing compensation. Call us at (630) 527-1595 for a FREE EVALUATION of your car accident case.

Client Reviews
Shawn Collins is a very talented lawyer, as are all the attorneys on his team. I've known and worked with Shawn for more that 30 years. Not only is he a top notch technical litigator but his communication skills are second to none. If anyone I know is ever in need of an attorney, Shawn is my very first recommendation. He gives very solid advice that goes beyond the law. He is someone you can trust to tell you the truth so you are not lead astray in the complex legal world. You really can't find a better advocate. E.M.
We were incredibly satisfied with our experience with The Collins Law Firm. We worked closely with Ed Manzke and found that he had a personal touch and truly got to know us in addition to being knowledgeable and effective in his field. The caring and individual attitude helped us tremendously throughout the entire process and we always felt like our case was in safe hands. We would highly recommend The Collins Law Firm for both its stellar work and dedicated employees. M.A.
My father recommended The Collins Law Firm to me after watching Shawn Collins and Ed Manzke at trial representing Lisle residents against Lockformer. For years, he told us courtroom tales about Shawn and Ed, citing their incredible skill as trial lawyers and how they put the huge Lockformer legal team to shame. So when my son was the victim of a wrongful death, they were my first and only choice. I can't say enough to truly express how grateful I am to The Collin's Law Firm for all that they did for me and my family. This amazing team advocated for me in my darkest moments, surpassing my expectations in every way. I will be forever grateful to Shawn and Ed. K.D.
I have worked with Rob, Shawn and The Collins Law Firm team in connection with both complex business transactions and litigation over the past several years. Shawn is far and away the best business litigation attorney I have worked with. Rob has been our lead attorney on M&A and corporate restructures, and he has delivered each time, and on time. I would highly recommend Rob to get the deal done! W.D.
Rob has been our out-side General Counsel for ten years. As a business with a global presence, it is important that we have the very best legal representation. Rob and the team have guided us through litigation battles, negotiating and drafting our important business contracts, and advising us in our business strategies. He has a great team of lawyers working with him. M.F.