Less sleep may lead to more crashes, study suggests

Research suggests that getting behind the wheel without first getting a requisite amount of sleep could have deadly consequences for motorists in Connecticut and around the country. According to one study, accident rates for drivers who get a mere four or five hours of sleep within 24 hours of hitting the roadway are almost as high as the crash rates that have been recorded for drunk drivers.

The findings, which were released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety on Dec. 6, are based on data made available by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In its Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, drivers reported the amount of sleep that they received during the 24 hours immediately preceding an accident. Each of the drivers that were surveyed had been involved in a police-reported incident in which either tow service or emergency medical services were required.

After reviewing the survey results, the director of Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research for AAA concluded that people who have not had at least seven hours of sleep in a given 24-hour time period do not belong behind the wheel of a vehicle. Additional studies have suggested that as many as one in three Americans do not get enough hours of sleep on a regular basis and may be sleep deprived as a result.

Connecticut residents may want to be aware that a significant number of drivers on the roadway may not have had the seven to nine hours of daily sleep that is recommended for the safe operation of a motor vehicle. In turn, sleep deprivation could lead to any number of serious auto accidents with associated injuries. Occupants of other vehicles who have been injured in such a crash may want to have legal assistance when seeking compensation from the negligent motorist for their medical expenses and other losses.