Drowsy driving is a serious problem on roads in California and all over the country. In a survey conducted by AAA, nearly 33% of respondents said they had driven at least once in the prior month while they could hardly keep their eyes open. In a study of 1,767 people, Consumer Reports found that one in five people who take prescription sleeping pills had driven within seven hours of taking them. Most sleep aids advise users to sleep for at least seven hours after administration.
Since so many areas of the state lack effective public transportation systems, many people are forced to get behind the wheel even when they're too tired to drive. According to the National Sleep Foundation, being awake for 24 hours straight is equivalent to drivers having a blood alcohol level of .10, which is higher than the .08 legal limit.
In order to avoid driving while drowsy, people should be sure to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Individuals who are sleeping enough and are still tired should consider seeking medical advice. A diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea or another sleep disorder could explain the problem. Taking breaks from driving during long trips can help keep a driver more aware behind the wheel as can driving with another person in the vehicle. Driving with a companion allows for taking turns so neither person gets too tired to drive.
People who are injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by drowsy drivers in California may be able to file legal claims to receive compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages or other damages. A lawyer who practices personal injury law may be able to identify the liable parties or negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. An attorney might also interview witnesses or gather medical records to build a case as well as draft a complaint for recovery in civil court.