Third Shift Drivers Are Dangerously Drowsy Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer

By Osborne & Francis
October 25, 2023

Those driving home after the third shift may be too fatigued and drowsy to safely operate their vehicles says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Your morning commute is a dangerous time to drive. The biggest reason is the fact there are simply more vehicles on the road, more drivers and a greater chance someone will make a mistake. Another danger is drowsy drivers. In addition to drivers not getting enough sleep the night before there are those who didn’t sleep at all because they worked third shift. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne warns that many of those homeward bound in the morning should not be behind the wheel.

While most of us sleep others are performing critical functions that keep society going. They work in hospitals, law enforcement, at airports, utilities and road maintenance and construction. While we need this work to be done we don’t need more dangerous drivers on the road.

Sixteen third shift workers were accompanied on a test track by researchers to measure what problems, if any, they had safely driving both after getting some sleep at night and being deprived of sleep when they worked overnight. When necessary the observers intervened to avoid a collision. The study’s report, published last January in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences of the United States of America, states,

  • Night shift workers have a high risk of drowsiness related motor vehicle accidents because their sleep is interrupted and restricted,
  • It’s been estimated a drowsy driver was involved in about 21% of fatal accidents and 13% of accidents resulting in severe injury from 2009 to 2013 in the U.S., and
  • Most drivers admit they drove while feeling drowsy and 28% reported falling asleep while driving within the past year.

The research findings include,

  • “We found a high risk of dangerous driving and near-crash events during actual driving by night-shift workers following overnight work, when physiological markers of drowsiness were significantly increased.”
  • These dangers increased as the drive got longer.
  • After a night shift drivers were more likely to drift out of their lane.
  • All of the near crashes (when observers intervened to stop the vehicle) and occasions when drivers had to pull over happened during the night shift drive home. None happened during the post sleep drives.
  • More than a third (37.5%) of those working overnight required an observer to stop or slow down the vehicle to avoid a crash to keep the participants and researchers safe, compared with no interventions for the post-sleep drivers.
  • Seven of the 16 third shift drives were stopped because the driver couldn’t maintain adequate control of the vehicle, compared with none of the drives by those who had slept.
  • “…(P)ostnight-shift drivers were much sleepier, and noticed increasing difficulty keeping their eyes open and maintaining lane position, particularly when driving for more than 15–30 min, which has been related to…lane drifting and severe driving impairment during simulated driving, and increased crash risk…”

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver or one asleep at the wheel, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

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