According to experts at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, being fatigued is a big factor in deadly auto collisions. The CDC estimates that approximately one quarter of all fatal traffic collisions are related to sleepy drivers, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that at least 2 percent of accidents that don't end up causing fatalities are tied to tiredness.
Notably, experts say that existing estimates of fatigue-related motor accidents are probably lower than in reality due to issues like police not being able to tell if drivers are overly tired. In addition, the problem is commonly portrayed as only impacting commercial truck drivers, but analysts say that it affects all motorists.
Some automakers have begun producing vehicles that automatically detect behaviors indicative of driver tiredness, such as decreased steering activity or inability to stay in one's lane. These cars may employ anti-fatigue alarms that work to keep motorists awake when they begin dozing off. Following high-profile accidents such as the one in 2014 that injured comedian Tracy Morgan, delivery companies are also installing hardware designed to keep tired drivers alert, but researchers say that not risking driving under conditions that might make one prone to fatigue is the best advice.
Although tiredness can be a factor in any auto accident, drowsy driving collisions that involve commercial trucks are often far more severe due to the speed and size of these vehicles. Truck driver fatigue may also be more common in certain highly-traveled areas or at night. Motorists who get hit could have trouble identifying the liable parties when fatigued vehicle operators work under the umbrella of a larger company, and in such cases, victims may want to obtain the assistance of a personal injury attorney.