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Night shift workers and the dangers of drowsy driving

Many professions have the possibility of working  overnight. Of course, these hours may be a burden for many reasons, but as one recent study points out, it seems there is also an increased risk of getting into a car accident following a night shift.

The fact is, drowsy driving causes car accidents. How many car accidents, is still up for debate, though. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigued driving is the cause of approximately 83,000 crashes each year between 2005 and 2009. However, a special commission report titled, "Asleep at the Wheel," finds the number to be much higher at an estimated 1.2 million crashes a year.

Study: Night shift workers more likely to get into crashes

To try to get an idea of the risks associated with fatigued driving, researchers compared the driving performance of 16 adults following an overnight shift to that of drivers who got at least five hours of sleep. To keep everyone safe, the driving took place on a closed track. The results spoke volumes:

  • Almost half of the night shift workers had to stop the study early, as the driver could not maintain proper control of the vehicle.
  • Close to 40 percent of the night shift workers almost got into an accident. The passenger who was riding along as part of the study needed to use an emergency brake to stop an accident from happening.
  • The close-call crashes and need to stop driving among night shift workers happened around 45 minutes or longer after starting the drive.

What to do after a crash with a tired driver

Ultimately, drivers are responsible for their actions while behind the wheel of a vehicle. This means that if someone causes a crash due to fatigue, he or she can still be held responsible, regardless of his or her profession.

In general, the very first thing to do after a crash is to reach out to an attorney. Do not make statements to the insurance company, or agree to anything. Many insurance companies pitch low offer settlements, or will try to cast doubt on the seriousness of someone's injuries. By having representation, injured drivers ensure that someone is looking out for their best interests and not the best interests of the insurance company.

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Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, Avvo.com and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

Matt Mulhern

Attorney Matt Mulhern

Mr. Mulhern has over 25 years of legal experience and a 100 percent success rate arguing before the Missouri Court of Appeals. He has a unique knowledge of the inner workings of insurance companies and how they will dispute your injury claim. He practices in both Missouri and Kansas.