Chicago motorists: Beware of drowsy drivers

Chicago drivers who have to commute long distances every day will likely not be surprised by a new study regarding driver fatigue. According to the study – conducted by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute – approximately 20 percent of motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. are caused by drivers who are fatigued.

The results of the study significantly increased the number of cases in which drowsy driving was suspected as a cause of motor vehicle accidents. Previously, only two to three percent of collisions were believed to have been the result of a tired driver.

The study was conducted in a natural environment. In other words, researchers examined data compiled from drivers going about their normal routine. The study participants’ vehicles were outfitted with sensors that were able to detect forward and backward motion and lane changing. The cars also had cameras installed to determine when the motorists were drowsy.

Throughout the course of the study, 38 of the over 100 participants were involved in either a motor vehicle accident or a “near-crash,” an accident that was narrowly avoided. Those drivers were involved in a total of 82 collisions and over 760 near-crashes during the study.

The researchers also found that the group most likely to cause an accident as a result of fatigue were drivers between the ages of 18 and 20. In addition, contrary to what many might expect, there were more motor vehicle accidents caused by drowsy drivers during the day, rather than at night.

When someone is injured in a traffic collision caused by a drowsy driver, seeking the advice of a skilled personal injury attorney will ensure his or her rights are protected.

Source: Insurance Journal, “Driver Fatigue Causes 20% of Auto Crashes: Study,” Susan Trulove, April 15, 2013.