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Bike Accident Statistics Shows Tired Drivers Are Dangerous


Very few of us would let a friend who has been drinking get behind the wheel of a car, because we all know that drunk driving is illegal and deadly. But if you had a friend who had been working since early in the morning, or who hadn’t been sleeping well for the last few nights, would you think of taking away their keys before they drove their car home? Recent bike accident statistics have shown that maybe you should.

While our culture today celebrates people who work long hours and are too busy to sleep, missing out on regular sleep means more than just being a little out of it the next day at work. A lack of sleep can make you a dangerous, deadly driver and put the lives of everyone around you at risk.


Is tired driving as dangerous as drunk driving?

A lack of sleep has a profound effect on your body and behavior, and can actually make your reaction time, agility, and ability to think similar to as if you were drunk.

Research has shown that a person who hasn’t slept in 17-19 hours will perform tasks at a level equivalent to a person with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 percent. A person who has been awake even longer than that will perform similar to a person with a BAC of 0.1.

For reference, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration when driving is 0.08. For anyone driving a commercial vehicle, the limit is even lower: 0.04.

That means a very tired person is at best, driving like a buzzed person and at worst, driving like someone who is dangerously far over the legal limit.

Staying up for 17-19 hours is easier than you think. If you get up early for work at 5:00am and stay up until 10:00pm, you have been up for 17 hours. Bike accident statistics  and a national survey showed that 35% of adults admit to having driven after being up for 17 hours or longer.

How often do you or people you know get behind the wheel of your car under similar conditions?


Why you should care about the danger of driving while sleep deprived

Driving while tired may sound innocent enough, but the National Sleep Foundation reports that an average of 100,000 car crashes are caused by drowsy drivers.

And it’s no surprise why. A person who is seriously sleep deprived cannot meet the safety standards we expect from drivers on today’s roads. Sleep deprived drivers cannot react as quickly as other drivers, they are less likely to see obstacles in their way, and they are more likely to make a mistake and not be able to maneuver quickly or smartly enough to get out of trouble.

Not only that, but a sleep deprived driver is more likely to succumb to sleep while they are behind the wheel. Without realizing it, they can lose complete control of the vehicle, and may or may not wake up or be able to react in time before they cause a deadly crash.

Being tired affects a person much more significantly than most of us realize. Much like a drunk driver, a tired driver often cannot tell just how dangerous their behavior is until it’s too late.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should not get behind the wheel — or if you are already driving, you should pull over and get another ride home:

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
  • Daydreaming; wandering/disconnected thoughts
  • Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs
  • Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
  • Feeling restless and irritable


If you are hit by a dangerously tired driver

A driver who is choosing to get behind the wheel of their car while they are dangerously tired is putting themselves and everyone around them in danger. If you are involved in a crash caused by a reckless, sleep deprived driver, you can get coverage for the injuries and damages you suffer because of their dangerous driving.

Call Bay Area Bicycle Law today to discuss your case with an experience bicycle law attorney: 415-466-8717.