While it used to be believed that driver fatigue contributed to 2 to 3 percent of all car accidents, a new study indicates that fatigue can cause as much as 20 percent of all auto collisions in the United States, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Center for Vulnerable Road User Safety. Other studies usually implemented simulators, surveys, and other controlled settings.
This study involved video cameras planted on cars, a radar, accelerometers, an in-vehicle network sensor, as well as lane-tracking software. One hundred drivers plus friends and family would drive these cars that were decked out with all this technology, usually taking them out on their commutes in the local metropolitan area.
Researchers were able to observe 82 crashes, 761 near crashes, and more than 10,000 other traffic events. What they found was that a driver’s tiredness contributed to 20 percent of the crashes they observed, and 16 percent of all the near crashes. Perhaps more interesting is the find that more drivers appeared tired in the daytime than in the evening.
According to one researcher, this fatigue “was not just yawning. The drivers were asleep.” This means that sensors and cameras picked up nodding heads, closed eyes, micro-sleep, and other indications of drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
Besides this study, there have also been plenty of research that indicates that fatigue can be just as much a threat as drunk driving is. Whatever the exact cause, if you have been in an auto accident that was caused by someone else’s irresponsibility or negligence, then you may be owed compensation, which can cover your pain and suffering, medical bills, loss of earning capacity, and more.