(866) 984-0113 call for your free personal
injury case consultation
Click for your free personal injury consultation
Click for your free personal injury consultation

The link between insomnia and fatal car accidents

May 12, 2015

Most people in Kentucky know that getting between seven and eight hours of sleep at night is an essential part of functioning well during the day. There have been a number of studies related to drowsy driving, but few that take a look at the effect insomnia can have. Recent research has revealed just how problematic insomnia can be, especially when it comes to operating a motor vehicle. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society published a study that links symptoms of insomnia with an increase in the number of fatal car accidents.

The study, which evaluated more than 54,000 people between 20 and 89 years old, saw 277 fatal injuries, 57 of which were motor vehicle-related. According to the findings, drivers who display the following symptoms are actually three times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident: 

  • Experiencing sleep that is not restful
  • Having trouble staying asleep
  • Feeling that initiating sleep is always problematic

The U.S. National Library of Medicine corroborates these findings, noting that in general, people who experience insomnia have a high rate of injuries at home, in the car and at work. In this study, roughly 9 percent of participants reported falling asleep at the wheel at least once, and 4.1 percent admitted to experiencing a car accident as the result of their exhaustion.

The National Sleep Foundation urges drivers to avoid getting behind the wheel if they feel tired. Sleepiness can cause an inability to focus, trouble remembering the trip and disconnected thoughts. Anyone who is having difficulty driving should immediately pull over in order to avoid causing an accident.