• Di Renzo & Bomier

The dangers of drowsy driving and driver fatigue in Wisconsin and elsewhere

Drowsy driving and driver fatigue were responsible for 795 car-related deaths in 2017, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Further, they report that fatigued drivers cause an estimated 91,000 car crashes a year, injuring over 71,000 people. Monetary losses caused by these accidents total over $12.5 billion.


Arkansas and New Jersey, are the only states that have drowsy driving laws.


Additional drowsy driving statistics

Other disturbing statistics related to drowsy driving include the following.

· According to a National Sleep Foundation poll, 60% of adult drivers said that they had driven a motor vehicle while feeling sleepy. That means 168 million people a year operating vehicles on our streets and highways could fall asleep driving at any second.

· An astonishing 37% of adult drivers, 103 million people, said they actually fell asleep at the wheel.


  • Of those 37 % who fell asleep, 13% said they did so at least once a month.

  • Eleven million drivers admit they’ve had either an accident or a near accident because of falling asleep at the wheel.

  • Only one in five drivers (22%) said they pull over to take a nap when feeling sleepy.

  • Most crashes or near accidents occur between 4-6 p.m., midnight to 2 a.m., and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Adults between the ages of 18-29 are more likely to drive while drowsy (71%).

  • 10 to 20% of big rig or bus crashes in the U.S. involved a fatigued driver.

  • A driver with less than five hours of sleep is almost five times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.


What are the dangers of fatigued driving?

Fatigued drivers experience significant attention lapses, which can result in car wrecks. It is very similar to distracted driving.


Studies show that those drivers who drive long hours have an impairment level equal to that of someone drinking and driving. The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for someone driving 18 hours is 0.5 and 0.10 after 24 hours. In Wisconsin, a person registering a 0.8 BAC is considered a drunk driver.


Preventing drowsy driving

There is no one way to test for when a person is too drowsy to continue to drive, and there is no or very little enforcement training to identify sleepiness as a factor in a car crash.


There are some devices sold that sound an alarm when a driver dozes off, and some car manufacturers have drowsy-driver detection systems.


There are warning signs that you may be too tired to drive. They include:


  • Yawning

  • Inability to keep eyes open

  • “Nodding off” and trouble keeping your head up

  • Inability to remember driving the last few miles

  • Ending up too close to nearby cars

  • Missing road signs or turns

  • Drifting into other lanes or onto rumble strips on the shoulder


Here are some ways to prevent drowsy driving:


  • Get a full night of seven to eight hours of sleep before driving

  • Avoid driving late at nightAvoid driving alone

  • On a long trip, share the driving with another passenger

  • Pull over at a rest stop and take a nap

  • Use caffeine for a short-term boost

  • Take a short nap after consuming caffeine to maximize the effect

  • Arrange for someone to give you a ride home after working a late shift


If you show any driver fatigue warning signs, please take immediate action. It could save your life and the lives of others.


If you have any questions about this topic or any other questions related to personal injury law, please call us at 920-725-8464, or toll free at 1-800-529-1552. Our personal injury consultations are always free.


The content of this blog was prepared by Law Offices of DiRenzo & Bomier, LLC for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or provide legal advice. Laws differ by jurisdiction, and the information in this blog may not apply to you. You should seek the assistance of an attorney licensed to practice in your state before taking any action. Using this blog site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Law Offices of DiRenzo & Bomier, LLC -client relationships can only be created by written contract.

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