New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

NY Night Shift Workers Face a Greater Risk of Being Involved in Auto Accidents

Posted on Nov 1, 2017 in Car Accidents

Motor vehicle accident attorneys can provide legal representation in circumstances where collisions occur and cause harm to victims.  There are many causes of crashes, including drowsy driving. When a motorist causes a crash to occur and harms others because that motorist is too tired to drive safely or because the motorist is otherwise negligent behind the wheel, the driver who failed to live up to his responsibilities to drive with reasonable care can be held accountable for resulting crash losses.

Unfortunately, there are certain groups who are at a much higher risk than others of becoming involved in a collision. One such group is people who work the night shift. As Sleep Review, the Journal for Sleep Specialists, explained, there is a significant drowsy driving risk for night shift workers who are driving the next day after working an overnight shift.

Drowsy Driving Accident Risks Increase Among Night Shift Workers

According to Sleep Review, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital evaluated the performance of night shift workers driving during the day time after working overnight. Their daytime driving behavior after working an overnight shift was compared with their daytime driving behavior after a night in which they had gotten a full night’s rest.

The researchers discovered that 37.5 percent of drivers who participated in a test drive after they had worked the night shift became involved in a near-crash event.  By comparison, when those same drivers had not worked overnight but had instead gotten a full night sleep the day before, there were almost no drivers involved in near-crash incidents.

The research revealed that when the drivers had worked a night shift before completing the driving test, they not only had an increased risk of near-accidents, but they also had a significantly higher risk of many dangerous driving behaviors.

More than 1/3 of the drivers had to make emergency-braking maneuvers. Drowsy drivers also had a substantially higher rate of lane excursions, a longer blink duration, and an increase in the number of slow eye movements that occurred. Problems associated with sleep-related impairment became evident within the first 15 minutes of the driving test occurring and persisted throughout the duration of the entire drive. Further, close to half of the driving tests had to be terminated early because of the inability of the test subjects to maintain control of the vehicle.

As the researchers explained, the results demonstrate how substantial the risk of drowsy driving is for motorists. The results also show that biological measures of drowsiness are substantially increased when driving after working a night shift.  The research is also a good illustration of what can occur whenever any motorist does not get a good night’s sleep, regardless of whether that motorist is fatigued form working the night shift or for any other reason.

If a driver causes an accident because he is too fatigued to drive, that motorist should be held responsible for causing a crash that harms others.  Motor vehicle accident attorneys can help victims of accidents to take appropriate steps to protect their rights and obtain the compensation they deserve.

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