Articles Posted in Drowsy Driving

The death toll on U.S. highways rose 8.1 percent in the first half of 2015.

According to new figures from the Transportation Department, low fuel prices have contributed to a jump in miles driven by Americans.

The preliminary figures represent a “troubling departure” from a general downward trend over the past decade, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a report released Tuesday.

In 2014, the fatality rate hit an all-time low.

Americans drove about 51.9 billion miles more in the first half of 2015 than the same period last year, which equates to about a 3.5 percent increase, according to the NHTSA. Job growth and low fuel prices also may be factors in the sudden, unexpected surge in highway fatalities, the agency said. There was also more leisure travel and driving by young people, which can contribute to higher fatality rates.

The sad news is that the death rate also increased. Fatalities per million vehicle-miles driven rose in the first half of 2015 was 1.06 percent, or 4.4 percent higher than the same period in 2014.

In final figures for 2014, 32,675 people died in U.S. motor-vehicle crashes, a 0.1 percent decline from 2013. The fatality rate declined to 1.07 deaths per million vehicle-miles traveled, which was a record low for a complete year.

States in the Southeast — Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee — saw a 15 percent increase in fatalities. The second highest increase, 11 percent, was recorded in a group of Western states: Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. California and Arizona saw no increase in fatalities, and the New England region saw an increase of 1 percent.

The biggest factors in traffic fatalities remain the lack of seatbelt use and drunk driving, according to reports. Nearly half of all people killed in road crashes do not wear seat belts, and one-third of all fatalities are in crashes involve intoxicated drivers.

Distracted driving accounted for 3,179 deaths in 2014, about 10 percent of the total. Drowsy driving was involved in 2.6 percent of the fatalities.

States without mandatory motorcycle helmet laws saw a “far higher” number of fatalities than states with mandatory helmet laws, according to reports. There were 1,565 motorcycle deaths in 2014.

Bicyclist deaths declined by 2.3 percent, but pedestrian deaths rose by 3.1 percent from the previous year. In 2014, there were 726 cyclists and 4,884 pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes.

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Fireworks are definitely dangerous, but they are not the only dangers to avoid this Fourth of July weekend. The roadways are especially hazardous during the summer holidays. When you are traveling to or from an Independence Day party this year, please remember to be on the look out for reckless drivers.

Here are a few dangers to try and avoid this Fourth of July:

  • Drunk drivers. Think about it, almost every Florida Independence Day celebration will have alcohol. Partygoers who are drinking at parties and such should not get behind the wheel of a car. If you see a car weaving or dodging in and out of traffic, keep your distance. If you have a passenger with you, consider notifying authorities.
  • 4428561177_831c2f9269_zDrowsy Drivers. Many holiday drivers are travelling lengthy distances to get to their final destination. Those who have been driving for hours may be feeling fatigued. Drowsy driving is often as dangerous as drunk drivers, so stay alert.
  • Distracted Drivers. Keep in mind that many travelers on Florida roadways are from out of town and have never been to the area before. Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds to look at a navigation device can have devastating results. Avoid being a distracted driver by staying off your cell phone and having other passengers check your GPS or phone for you.
  • Speeding Drivers. People that are anxious to get where they are going may decide to speed or drive recklessly. Make sure you obey the posted speed limits and monitor your speed if there is heavy traffic.

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A number of automakers acknowledge that drowsy driving is a big problem amongst American drivers. Recently, many have now begun investing in technologies that are designed to detect when a motorist is too tired to be operating behind the wheel.

Nissan has announced an exciting new technology that the company claims will help reduce the risk of drowsy driving accidents by detecting fatigue or drowsiness in a motorist.

9774109374_30408d141d_zAccording to statistics by the AAA, nearly 40 percent of drivers have said they have fallen asleep at the wheel at some point while driving, while 11 percent reported dozing off while driving in the past year alone. In the United States, drowsy drivers are responsible for more than 300,000 accidents, and account for over 6,400 fatalities every year.

Nissan has recently shared a new drowsy driving detection system that will be featured on its new models. This system is designed to analyze driving behavior, and look for signs of driver fatigue. The system can detect when the driver is too tired to operate safely and flashes a coffee mug symbol in the center of the instrument panel along with an audible warning.

The system detects drowsiness by monitoring steering input patterns of the driver using sensors, which it then compares to patterns of subsequent driving. When it finds behaviors that are typical of a drowsy motorist, it then immediately delivers a visible and audible alert.

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As deadly collisions continue to occur throughout the state of Florida, it is quite fitting that citizens of Florida should want answers. While there is not just one answer for the reason why deadly crashes occur, there is some insightful information available on motor vehicle accident causes across the state.

52824625_f3596d1065_z (1)Top Causes for Crashes

  • Distracted Driving
  • Speeding
  • Road Rage
  • Impaired Driving
  • Fatigue

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the top causes of auto accidents in the state of Florida. From texting, talking on the phone, applying makeup, eating or engaging in any other manual, visual and cognitive non-driving tasks while behind the wheel, distracted driving puts Floridians in danger.


Speeding is another top cause of motor vehicle collisions in Florida. Going too fast on the roadways can lead to serious injury as well as death. An increase in speed can lead to an increased risk of causing a serious traffic accident.

Road Rage

Aggressive driving maneuvers like tailgating and cutting off cars is another reason why so many auto accidents occur in Florida. Aggressive driving is a form of road rage, and can also include risky behaviors like improper signaling and swerving in and out of lanes.

Impaired Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs also leads to lethal accidents on Florida roadways. While the FHP and local law enforcement agencies have been ramping up their efforts to crackdown on drunk drivers, impaired driving collisions are still happening in Florida.


Fatigue is also a major cause for concern when it comes to car crashes. When a driver is drowsy or sleepy, he or she is not likely to make good decisions behind the wheel. It is vital to be alert when driving any distance. Drowsy driving can easily lead to a serious collision in just the blink of an eye.

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Most people have gotten behind the wheel of a car a little tired. While it is not uncommon for drowsy drivers to be on the road, it is important to realize that drowsy driving is quickly becoming more dangerous than distracted or even drunk driving. Also, drowsy driving does not mean falling asleep at the wheel. In fact, most accidents involving drowsy drivers are drivers who were awake, just tired.

3839475522_68d4e14c0b_zThe AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety just released a report on drowsy driving accidents from 2009-2013. The report indicates that 21 percent of fatal car accidents occur because of drowsy drivers. That means that nearly 6,400 fatal car accidents a year – 17 fatal car crashes a day – occur because of drowsy drivers. This number is significantly higher than the government’s official estimate, which claims that drowsy drivers are responsible for just 2.5 percent of fatal car crashes in this country.

When you are drowsy, you are:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has declared this week, October 19-25, as National Teen Driver Safety Week. Due to the sad reality that motor vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death for teens ages 14 to 18, the NHTSA has made this issue a top priority. The NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” rules are designed to raise awareness about the five biggest issues teen drivers face today.

Safety Issues Facing Teen Drivers

The NHTSA has listed out the top five safety concerns for teen drivers by analyzing data and statistics from auto accidents involving teen drivers across the United States. From driving impaired to having too many passengers in the car, there are numerous issues that can greatly increase a teen driver’s risk for being involved in an accident that could result in serious injuries or death.

Top Five Safety Concerns for Teens

  1. Alcohol
  2. Seat belts
  3. Texting
  4. Speeding
  5. Passengers

7838235550_2205537def_zFive to Drive

By addressing these safety concerns with teen drivers, parents can make a huge impact on the safety of their teen when behind the wheel. Even though teens are not legally allowed to consume alcohol, they are at a greater risk than drivers in any other age group of being involved in an alcohol-related crash. It should also be noted that extra passengers can increase a teen drivers risk of being involved in a collision, so it is best to limited teens to no more than one passenger in their car at any time.

Even what can seem like minor details can have a great impact on inexperienced drivers. As a parent, it is smart to have regular conversations with your teen driver about these five key issues and lead by example. When you are driving, make sure to follow all safety rules, including wearing your seatbelt, and limit the distractions around you. Teens are quite perceptive, and if you are a safe driver, then the odds are your teen will pick up on your safe practices and put them into action when they are behind the wheel.

What to do After a Crash

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Whenever a motor vehicle accident occurs in Florida, or anywhere else throughout the country, it creates a series of events that cost money. While these costs are not always apparent to other people, make no mistake, car accidents can be quite expensive.

When viewed as a whole, the numbers are downright shocking. A recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration demonstrates that motor vehicle accidents cost more than $870 billion in economic loss per year. This study examined data from 2010. That $870 billion can be broken down even further to a personal basis, averaging an estimated cost of $900 per person in the U.S., which does not just apply to accident victims, but all people residing in this country.

traffic betchNHTSA’s study, “The Economic and Society Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010,” focuses on some of the behavioral factors that influenced that year’s nearly 33,000 highway fatalities, 3.9 million injuries and 24 million damaged vehicles. According to the study, three driver behaviors including speeding, drunk driving and distracted driving, accounted for 56 percent of the economic loss to the nation and 62 percent of the societal harm. Societal harm is described as harm due to loss of life and decreased quality of life.

What is not so shocking is that drunk driving accidents were found to be among the most expensive kinds of accidents. These accounted for 18 percent of the total economic loss and 23 percent of the overall societal harm.

Speeding accounted for 21 percent of the overall economic loss costing the nation $59 billion and 24 percent, or $210 billion, of the societal harm.

Distracted driving crashes were responsible for 17 percent of the total economic loss and cost $46 billion. These crashes accounted for $129 billion, or 15 percent, of the overall societal harm.

On a positive note, researchers for this study concluded that using seatbelts led to a savings of almost $70 billion in medical care, lost productivity and other costs that were not incurred. For now, around 5 percent of the total economic loss involved people in auto accidents where they were not buckled up or did not properly fasten their seatbelt.

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Memorial Day weekend is finally here and many of you will be setting out to enjoy the official start of summer with our state’s numerous recreational possibilities. With that said, it is estimated that close to 34 million people will be hitting the road over the long holiday weekend and traveling at least 50 miles from home. Whether you are staying local or making a trek to a family member or friend’s home, the Florida Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton urge you to drive safely and exercise caution this holiday weekend.

Memorial Day weekend is supposed to be a time for remembrance and celebration. Whatever type of activity you choose to partake in this weekend, we urge you to do so responsibly. Make sure if you are driving to always pay attention, look out for any roadside construction and always see to it that everyone in your vehicle is buckled up. Remember, if you are going to be drinking at any point during the holiday weekend, just be sure to have a designated driver set in place.

memorial day flagAccording to AAA, the amount of motorists travelling on the roadways this Memorial Day weekend will be at a 10 year high. Dating back to past Memorial Day weekends, statistics show that there is an increase of more than ten percent in motor vehicle accidents vs. other holiday weekends.

You can help exercise safety this Memorial Day weekend just by brushing up on a few safety steps:

  1. Always give yourself enough time to get from Point A to Point B.
  2. Follow all posted speed limits.
  3. Limit Driver Distractions.
  4. Make sure everyone, including those in the back seat, is wearing their seat belt.
  5. Do not drink and drive. In fact, make sure you have a designated driver assigned before you start drinking so that you are not tempted to drive after consuming alcoholic beverages.

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A 41-year-old Georgia woman riding shotgun in a 1982 Chevrolet pickup was critically injured in a single-vehicle crash in Levy County near Morriston, Florida early Saturday after the driver supposedly fell asleep at the wheel.

The driver, a 44-year-old Ocala man was seriously injured in the crash.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the pickup crossed southbound through traffic lanes, entered the grass shoulder, struck a concrete culvert and went airborne for approximately 64 feet before landing on its wheels.

The driver allegedly told troopers he dozed off before he lost control of the vehicle.

Neither party was wearing a seat belt, according to the crash report. They were both transported to Shands at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

FHP is further investigating the crash.

According to an AAA Foundation Study conducted in 2010, 41 percent of the population surveyed admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point when operating a motor vehicle. This study was based on the results of a nationwide telephone survey of 2,000 drivers and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s car accident facts over the past 10 years. Based on this information, the AAA Foundation found that a drowsy driver was the culprit of one out of every six fatal crashes and one out of eight collisions that result in serious injuries.

Driver fatigue can be caused by numerous factors other than not getting enough sleep at night, including:

• Prescription and over the counter medications with drowsiness as a side effect
• Consuming alcohol
• Sleep Disorders that are undiagnosed or untreated
• Driving Overnight
• Driving long distances without stopping for a rest

It is important to note that there are no measurable standards set in place to determine driver fatigue. The experienced Florida Car Accident & Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help gather evidence related to your accident to build a compelling case on your behalf. Depending on the facts related to your accident and injuries, you may be awarded compensation for medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering.

Drowsy driving is reckless driving and completely preventable. Sleep is a biological necessity for every human being and the ONLY cure for driver fatigue. The NHTSA estimates nearly 100,000 accidents each year are caused by fatigued drivers, resulting in approximately 1,550 fatalities, at least 40,000 injuries and an astounding $72.5 billion in financial losses. Drowsy driving accidents can have severe consequences for their victims, including disability and disfigurement, chronic pain, mental anguish, staggering medical bills and even wrongful death.

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