The Pervasiveness of Drowsy & Distracted Driving in Los Angeles & Beyond

The Pervasiveness of Drowsy & Distracted Driving in Los Angeles & Beyond

In cinema and primetime television, a high number of onscreen auto accidents are preceded by scenes of a man consuming alcohol at his favorite bar or a group of party-goers getting wasted at a club. While the media’s depictions of crashes are not far from the truth in regards to DUI-related accidents, research shows that you and your family are more likely to face an auto accident through other means. At the Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus, we want to spread awareness of accident-prone behaviors, and the terrible results of these habits, to keep you safe while on the road.

Drowsy Driving Is As Dangerous As DUIs

Many people know to give up their keys when they are drinking, but few understand how crucial it is to stay away from the wheel while drowsy. A recent study conducted by AAA set out to obtain concrete evidence about the number of crashes caused by drowsy driving. To accomplish their goal, researchers recorded the faces of drivers while operating a motor vehicle, looking for signs of drowsiness before an accident occurred. The researchers captured footage of 701 people who got into accidents, and used a scientifically proven method to determine if the driver involved in the crash was drowsy when the accident occurred.

After the study was said and done, the researchers made the following conclusions:

  • An estimated 8.8%-9.5% of all crashes involve drowsy driving
  • An estimated 10.6%-10.8% of all crashes determined “severe” (reportable to the police) involve drowsy driving
  • Persons of all ages are almost equally susceptible to accidents caused by drowsy driving
  • Nighttime crashes are three times more likely to involve drowsiness when compared to daytime crashes
  • Drowsy-driving-related accidents are more prevalent than previous studies have suggested

Drivers Do Not Take Drowsy Driving Seriously

AAA recommends that drivers sleep at least 7 hours within a 24-hour period before getting behind the wheel. In fact, research shows that drivers who have been awake for 18-hours drive as though they had a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .05, only .03 under the legal ceiling. When a driver has not slept for 24 hours, their driving ability is similar to that of a person operating a vehicle with a BAC of .10. While 96% of drivers say drowsy driving is a detriment to their ability to operate a vehicle, 29% admitted to struggling to keep their eyes open while driving within the last month. Unfortunately, this statistic means people know the risks of operating a vehicle while drowsy, but are unwilling to do the right thing and refrain from driving.

If you have slept only a handful of hours, here are some practical solutions to getting around safely:

  • Call an Uber
  • Hail a taxi
  • Take a train to work
  • Ask a friend or significant other for a ride
  • Rideshare

Distracted Driving Has Disastrous Results

Distracted driving is another crash-causing epidemic that many people know about, but few take seriously. Unfortunately, when people belittle the danger of distracted driving, people’s lives are put at risk. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that 3,450 people lost their lives to distracted driving in 2016. This death total means distracted driving accounts for 9% of all vehicular fatalities, and something must be done if this statistic is going to change.

Distracted driving comes in a variety of forms such as:

  • Eating
  • Applying cosmetics
  • Talking to passengers
  • Texting
  • Surfing the web
  • Retrieving something from the back of the car
  • Much, much more

No matter how brilliant your driving is, these forms of distraction can turn even the best driver into an inattentive pilot.

To prove that distracted driving caused thousands of accidents, the NHTSA researched the effects of driving while using a cell phone in 2012, here are some of the facts:

  • 12% of those involved in crashes in the study were doing one of the following when the crash occurred: handling their phone, talking to passengers, sending or reading texts.
  • When compared to all other age groups, those between the ages of 18-20 are twice as likely to be in a crash caused by phone use.
  • When compared to all other age groups, those between the ages of 18-20 were eight times more likely to be in a crash where texting was involved.
  • When compared to all other age groups, those between the ages of 25-34 are 10% more likely to suffer a crash involving a phone call.

These numbers are arguably higher today, as the total number of distraction-related fatalities were at an all-time high in 2015-2016. Unfortunately, the number of people who are concerned about distracted driving is low. The same 2012 study stated above claims that an estimated 50% of Americans believe that talking on their phone does not impact their ability to drive. Additionally, the study claims that an estimated 25% of Americans think that texting while behind the wheel does not impact their ability to drive (for those between the ages 25-34, it rises to an estimated 30%). However, the statistics show that distracted driving significantly impacts the yearly count of auto accidents, and proves that distracted driving can lead to serious injury or death.

How Does Distracted & Drowsy Driving Affect Los Angeles?

In 2016, California accounted for 9.5% of all car accident-related fatalities in the United States. When looking at Los Angeles County specifically, we come to find out that LAC accounts for 2% of all auto accident deaths in the United States. In 2016, Los Angeles County saw 794 auto-accident fatalities in a year’s time. When comparing the statistics from various studies, we can estimate that 71 people in Los Angeles were killed from distracted driving in 2016. Additionally, we can also estimate that 16,274 Californians are injured in drowsy driving accidents on a yearly basis.

As you can see, drowsy and distracted driving are threatening our community, and unfortunately, citizens of Los Angeles will continue to put their lives and the lives of others at risk due to these driving tactics. Sadly, our firm has no control over the general public’s decision to continue making life-threatening driving behaviors. However, we can help people who have been injured by the negligent driving of another person. We believe responsible drivers who undergo a traumatic accident due to the recklessness of others shouldn’t have to take on the financial responsibility of their peer’s mistake.. To take your first step towards financial wellness in a time of distress, reach out to us for a free, no-obligation consultation. I need to discuss my accident with a trusted attorney.

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