In AAA’s 2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index, 96% of drivers acknowledged that drowsy driving is extremely dangerous, yet 27% admitted to doing it at least once in the past 30 days. Drowsy driving is a factor in some 328,000 crashes every year, and the National Sleep Foundation links it to a yearly average of 6,400 deaths and 50,000 debilitating injuries throughout West Virginia and the rest of the U.S.
Experts have shown that drowsy driving becomes more prevalent in the days after daylight saving time. One report from the Insurance Bureau of British Columbia states that compared to the two weeks before the end of DST, the two weeks after see a marked increase in collisions during the late afternoon commute.
The reason for this is simple: The extra hour disrupts the body’s sleep/wake cycle and circadian rhythm. In turn, this causes drowsiness. The end of DST affects different people in different ways, of course, but most will find themselves having trouble concentrating on the road and reacting to dangers.
Another problem is that the sun will set sooner, pitting many commuters against the risks associated with night driving. Drivers may also complicate matters for themselves by staying up late before the end of DST.
Drowsy driving is a form of negligent driving. When it’s determined to be a factor in a crash, an injured party who was not at fault may file a claim. In fact, a victim in West Virginia can file even if they were deemed 49% at fault; although, the degree of fault will lower whatever amount they recover in damages. To ensure a fair settlement, a victim may want to hire a lawyer. The lawyer could litigate if a settlement cannot be achieved.