Night shift workers in West Virginia may be more likely to cause drowsy driving-related accidents. Researchers have noted that people driving home after a night on the job could be suffering from sleep deprivation or other forms of sleep disturbance.
Safety advocates have noted that drowsy driving is a major threat to public health and can be prevented. Workers on the night shift have many more car accidents than those who work days, according to researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Those deadly numbers escalate particularly on the morning commute home after a shift.
Researchers assessed the night shift workers’ driving performance on a closed track, both after a full night’s sleep on a day without work and following a night shift. They calculated the drivers’ drowsiness by measuring periods of partial eyelid closure and lowered heart rates, measuring performance in terms of near crashes, excessive weaving and driving sessions that were terminated. They found that 37.5 percent of drivers after a night shift experienced a near-crash event on the track.
More than that, the majority of post night shift drivers also had higher levels of drowsiness and overall poorer driving performance. The results were the same for drivers whether they had worked night shifts for years or were new to these work hours. The researchers encouraged education about the dangers of drowsy driving, which can cause impairment similar to drunk driving.
Drowsy driving can be a dangerous threat on the road to other drivers and passengers, who can find themselves victims of car accidents caused by sleepy drivers. These accidents can lead to severe personal injuries and even death. People who have suffered injuries through no fault of their own can seek out a personal injury attorney. A lawyer can help car crash victims to pursue compensation for medical bills and other damages caused by the accident.