Sleep Deprivation and Auto Accidents

According to a recent study conducted by the American Council on Science and Health, “severe sleep apnea was associated with a 123% increased crash risk, compared to no sleep apnea,” and that “sleeping 6 hours per night was associated with a 33% increased crash risk, compared to sleeping 7 or 8 hours per night.”

It is well known that sleep deprivation can lead to car accidents, but until now there have been few studies done to relate this to lawsuit situations. For example, what if someone exists in a perpetual sleepy state and doesn’t realize they are sleep deprived? Furthermore, individuals who suffer from sleep apnea may be able to better manage the effects of sleep deprivation and thereby avoiding a car accident lawsuit.

“We found that chronically sleep-deprived individuals don’t perceive themselves as being excessively sleepy and thus don’t perceive themselves as impaired,” said lead author Daniel Gottlieb, MD, MPH, associate physician in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders. “This resulted in an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes in sleep-deprived individuals.”

Some signs of sleep deprivation to look out for:

  • Frequent yawning or blinking.
  • Difficulty remembering the recent miles you drove.
  • Missing an exit.
  • Lane drifting.
  • Driving onto a rumble strip.
  • Difficulty concentrating and impaired performance.
  • Memory and thinking problems.
  • Disorientation, hallucinations, and paranoia.
  • Mood changes.

If you have been injured in an accident that you believe was caused by a sleep-deprived driver, you should consult an experienced auto accident attorney right away. Call one of our expert attorneys at Whitener Law Firm at 505-883-RUSS.