Are you one of the more than 9.5 million people who work the night shift? Do you know someone who works the night shift? If so, the results of a recent study looking at the driving ability of night shift workers may interest you.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital Study

According to a study by researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, night shift workers have a significantly higher risk of causing a traffic accident while driving home after work. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analyzed 16 night shift workers. Of those 16 workers, over one-third of the workers had near crashes driving after work. However, the very same drivers had no near crashes when driving the day after sleeping an average of 7.6 hours.

Dr. Charles Czeisler, the study’s author, said the study “reveals just how dangerous it is to drive home after working all night.” He also pointed out that since they used the same 16 drivers to drive the same course at approximately the same time, the results were not due to the drivers being “inherently dangerous drivers.”

In addition to the above findings, other findings included:

  • Almost half of the test drives conducted after the workers had worked the night before were terminated early because the drivers failed to maintain control of the vehicle.
  • Emergency braking maneuvers were used by roughly one-third of the participants who had worked the night before the test drive.
  • During the first 15 minutes of the test driver, sleep-related impairment was noted in drivers who worked the night before the test drive.

Dr. Czeisler compared the sleep-impairment to being legally drunk in addition to noting the risk increased the longer the driver was behind the wheel. For night workers who have long drives home, the risk of being in a traffic accident can be significantly greater.

Drowsy Driving Accidents

During 2013, it is estimated that drowsy driving accidents resulted in 44,000 injuries and 800 fatalities. In addition, it is believed that the numbers are understated and that the actual fatalities caused by drowsy driving accidents could be as high as 6,000 people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who have a high risk for being involved in a drowsy driving accident include:

  • People who do not get enough sleep;
  • Commercial drivers;
  • People who work the night shift or work long shifts;
  • People who have untreated sleep disorders; and,
  • People who use medication that can make them drowsy.

The National Sleep Foundation warns drivers of the signs of drowsy driving:

  • Tailgating
  • Missing signs or exits
  • Drifting from lane to lane
  • Trouble focusing
  • Trouble keeping your eyes open or your head up
  • Slower reaction time
  • Poor judgment
  • Feeling aggressive, irritable, or restless
  • Rolling down the window or turning up the radio to stay awake
  • Daydreaming or wandering thoughts

For more information about drowsy driving, visit DrowsyDriving.org.

Do You Need A Louisville Drowsy Driving Accident Attorney?

If you have been injured in a drowsy driving accident, our Louisville car accident attorneys can help. Contact the Shelton Law Group by calling 1-888-761-7204 or by using our online contact form. Our Louisville car accident attorneys offer free consultations and case evaluations. If a drowsy driver caused a car accident and you were injured, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Furthermore, you may also recover compensation for your physical pain, emotional suffering, and mental anguish.