Unfortunately, people who drive with inadequate sleep can sometimes cause car accidents. A 2014 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study estimates that over 300,000 car accidents in the U.S. involve a drowsy driver annually. Of these, as many as 20 percent involve a fatality.
Drowsy driving is difficult to detect. When a driver is stopped, police usually have to rely on an admission by the driver that sleep deprivation led to their erratic driving or even an accident. There is no sleep meter akin to a breathalyzer that can show someone was asleep behind the wheel.
States have been left with few options except to post catchy messages on highway boards, which many have seen displayed on Iowa highways, e.g.,“Sleep Deprived is No Way to Drive” or “Drowsy is Lousy, Rest is Best”. Other measures include raising awareness about drowsy driving through driver’s education courses and related materials to alert new drivers to the risk.
A few states have sought to criminalize drowsy driving that leads to a fatality, but again it is very hard to prove. Technology that detects drowsy driving is out there, but few cars are equipped with the so-called Driver Attention Systems that monitor the telltale signs of nodding off.
Recently, the potentially deadly problem of drowsy driving in Iowa prompted the Governors Highway Safety Association and the National Road Safety Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes safe driving, to distribute $15,000 grants to a handful of states, including Iowa, to create innovative drowsy driving prevention campaigns.
Iowa is taking the lead to put a stop to drowsy driving through public service announcements on television and social media, more highway message boards, and partnering with local supermarkets to include bag stuffers to spread the word about the dangers of drowsy driving.
A spokesman for the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau says the key is to “educate the public that this [drowsy driving] is a serious issue and that is causing fatalities in the state.” Hopefully, the efforts to raise awareness will make roads safer for Iowans and their families. The best advice is to get the sleep you need especially before heading out on the road.
Experienced Des Moines Car Accident Lawyers
If you or a family member has been injured in an Iowa car accident, contact the Experienced Des Moines Car Accident Lawyers of John T. Hemminger for immediate assistance. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries in cases where the negligence of another driver resulted in your injury. Call us at 515-283-2116 or contact us online.
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