Three members of the U.S. military were injured on the 4th of July—not in combat, but when the driver of their vehicle fell asleep at the wheel and smashed into a tree near a Brooklyn golf course. Though many are aware of the dangers associated with drowsy driving, you may be surprised to learn just how often drivers in New York and around the country actually fall asleep in traffic.
The Shocking Statistics on Falling Asleep in Traffic
4.2% of respondents in a survey of more than 147,000 adults in 19 states and the District of Columbia said they’d fallen asleep at the wheel at least once in the previous 30 days. That’s more than 6,000 people nodding off in traffic, just from this limited sample.
Longer-term statistics are even more alarming. 10% of respondents to a smaller-scale survey by AAA revealed that they’d fallen asleep while driving at least once in the past year, and 43.2% said they had at some point in their lives.
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What Do These Statistics Mean for New Yorkers?
While we don’t have specific statistics on New York drivers falling asleep in traffic, the general percentages lead to alarming conclusions. As of 2017, there were more than 12 million licensed drivers in the state of New York and more than 3.8 million in NYC. Assuming New Yorkers are falling asleep while driving at rates similar to U.S. drivers overall, that means:
- More than 160,000 New York City drivers likely fell asleep in traffic in the past 30 days
- More than 380,000 New York City drivers likely fell asleep while driving at some point in the last year
- More than 1.6 million New York City drivers have likely fallen asleep at the wheel at some point in their driving histories
Those numbers are unsettling enough, but consider what happens when we look at licensed drivers across the state of New York:
- More than half a million have likely nodded off while driving in the past month
- More than 1.2 million are projected to have fallen asleep in traffic in the past year
- Well over 5 million have likely drifted off behind the wheel at least once
Drowsy Driving is Negligent
No one intends to fall asleep at the wheel, so it may be natural to think of a traffic crash caused by a fatigued driver nodding off as just an unfortunate accident. However, falling asleep in traffic isn’t something that typically happens to well-rested people who have experienced no warning signs. Rather, when driver nods off on the road, he or she has likely made irresponsible decisions, such as driving without adequate sleep or ignoring drowsiness and loss of focus on the road.
If you’ve been injured in a traffic crash because a driver fell asleep at the wheel, don’t make the mistake of assuming that collision was “no one’s fault.” If the driver knowingly took a risk or ignored warning signs, such as getting behind the wheel after having been up all night or continuing to drive though he was exhausted, losing focus, having trouble keeping his eyes open, or otherwise aware that his ability to drive safely had been compromised, you may be entitled to damages.
A New York City personal injury lawyer experienced in handing car accident cases, and drowsy driving cases in particular, can review the facts of your case and advise you of your rights and the possible damages in your case. Just schedule a free consultation with a NYC personal injury lawyer right now.