Drowsy driving is a real public hazard. When drivers get behind the wheel after working a full night shift, the likelihood of getting into a car accident increases significantly, putting themselves and other drivers at risk of serious injuries. A study conducted by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) found that 37.5% of drivers in the test group were involved in a near-crash event after working the night shift.
The study highlights how night shift workers are involved in significantly more accidents than day workers, particularly on their drive home from work. The study looked at 16 night shift workers who were asked to complete a pair of two hour driving sessions at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety driving track. One of the sessions tested the participants’ driving skills after approximately 7.5 hours of sleep. The second session looked at the same criteria after working a night shift. Both driving tests took place at the same time of day for each participant. The following criteria was measured for each session:
- Physiological measures of drowsiness, including: – brief micro-sleep episodes measured by an EEG – partial eyelid closure with slow eye movements, which can lead to falling asleep at the wheel
- Driving performance was evaluated by looking at the following: – near-crash events – loss of vehicle control – incidence of weaving in and out of lanes
When researchers compared the driving performance of the post-sleep group to the post-night shift group, they found that the night shift group had the following results:
- Increased drowsiness and compromised driving skills
- More than one third of the group required emergency braking maneuvers
- Nearly half of the test drives were stopped early because the participant could not maintain control of the vehicle
- Higher incidence of lane departures
- Longer blink duration and increased number of slow eye movements
- Increased drowsiness, impairment and overall crash risk over the course of the test drive
According to Michael L. Lee, PhD, lead author, and research fellow in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at BWH, drowsy driving has the same effect on seasoned night shift workers as it does on less experienced night shift workers. In fact, the reactions exhibited by many of the drivers were similar to those seen in drunk drivers. Those with a longer commutes home are at even greater risk of being involved in an auto accident than individuals with a short commute home.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Represent Victims of Drowsy Driving-Related Car Accidents
If you have been injured in a car accident involving a drowsy driver, contact Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP. We will examine the details of your case. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Reading, Pennsylvania where we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Call us today at 1-800-222-8792 or contact us online at www.galfandberger.com to schedule a confidential consultation.