Several Texas highways, including a 145-mile interstate between Corpus Christi and San Antonio, have been called among the worst in the nation for drowsy or fatigued driving fatalities. Texas counties as a whole including Hidalgo County appear near the top of various counts of sleep-related car accident fatalities.
“Falling Asleep At the Wheel,” names Interstate 37 in southern Texas and U.S. 285, which runs through Texas, New Mexico and Colorado, as the nation’s most dangerous roads for fatal sleep-related driving accidents. I-37 had the highest volume of fatal drowsy driving accidents.
On I-37, drowsy driving accidents account for nearly one of every five fatal motor vehicle accidents, the study says. Commercial truck drivers spend many hours behind the wheel to transport goods. They are among the drivers most likely to drive when fatigued and struggling to stay awake, the report says. Large trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which makes truck accidents especially dangerous.
I-37 runs through a largely rural part of Texas and there aren’t many towns or roadside stops for drivers to take a break and get refreshed, Fox 44 News in Waco says in its coverage of the study.
Interstate 40, which runs across the Texas Panhandle, is also listed among the most dangerous for sleep-deprived drivers with 7.06% percent of fatal accidents sleep-related.
On U.S. 285, of which about 100 miles stretch between Fort Stockton and the New Mexico state line north of Pecos, 18.09% of fatal accidents are sleep-related.
Bexar County (San Antonio) is No. 2 of 10 counties in the US. with the most sleep-related driving fatalities in the past six years, with 35. Dallas County and Atascosa County (Jourdanton), each with 19 sleep-related driving fatalities in the last six years, are No. 6.
Overall, Texas is fourth in the nation with 5.7% of fatal accidents linked to fatigue or drowsiness. Wyoming (8.6%), Vermont (6.8%) and Colorado (6%) are the Top 3 and Montana (4.6%) is No. 5.
The study is by Sleep Junkie, a website that publishes sleep health information along with comprehensive mattress reviews and sales guides. Its authors used National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data from 2010 to 2015 to analyze how many sleep-related fatalities occurred by road, road type, state, time of day, type of car, and county. The definition for sleep-related accident is a fatal car accident in which at least one driver of a vehicle involved in the crash was reported to have been asleep or fatigued.
Why Is Drowsy Driving So Common and Dangerous?
The report says some estimates suggest that more than 1,500 people die every year due to someone falling asleep behind the wheel. Some studies indicate that being awake for more than 18 hours can produce impairment of judgment and reflexes similar to a blood alcohol level of .05. A blood alcohol level of .08 is considered legally drunk.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says no one knows the exact moment when sleep comes over their body. The danger of falling asleep at the wheel is obvious but being sleepy also affects your ability to recognize and respond to dangerous traffic situations and avoid accidents. Being drowsy …
- Makes you less able to pay attention to the road.
- Slows reaction time necessary to brake or steer suddenly.
- Affects your ability to make good decisions.
People can become sleepy or fatigued behind the wheel because they:
- Drive for extended periods of time
- Drive without having had adequate sleep the previous night
- Have had too little sleep over a long period
- Have consumed alcohol or medications that have a sedative effect
- Suffer from untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
The report also says getting on the road before you’re fully awake and alert can be as dangerous as not having had enough sleep.
Weather and light may also contribute to dangerous conditions that promote falling asleep at the wheel.
The Sleep Junkie study says the most frequently cited factors in drowsy driving fatalities are:
- Interstate highways
- The hours of 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.
- Dawn lighting conditions
- Foggy weather
- Utility vehicles and pickup trucks.
Fatigue and driving facts. People who are more likely to drive drowsy are:
- Younger male drivers who do not get enough sleep because of working part-time in addition to school and/or active social lives
- Young mothers, particularly those who also work outside of the home
- Commercial drivers who operate vehicles such as tractor-trailers and buses
- Drivers on long trips
- Shift workers who work night shifts or split shifts
- Drivers who use certain medications, alcohol or illicit drugs
- Drivers with untreated sleep disorders.
Contact a McAllen, TX, Drowsy Driving Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one of yours has been in an accident in which a car or truck did not brake or attempt to avoid the collision, the other driver may have been drowsy and nodding off at the wheel or actually asleep at the wheel at the time of the crash. A car accident attorney from Herrman & Herrman in McAllen, Texas, may be able to help you obtain compensation for your medical bills and other losses.
The attorneys at Herrman & Herrman offer a free, no-obligation review of the facts of your case. If you have a valid claim, we can gather evidence, contact the insurance company and seek the full compensation appropriate for your injuries and other losses.
Our fatigued driving accident injury lawyers have a successful track record of recovering high-value settlements and verdicts for accident victims like you. Contact our firm now for aggressive representation in your drowsy driving accident claim.