Tired drivers caused up to 5,000 fatalities in traffic accidents across the U.S. in 2015, according to a new report titled, “Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do.”

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) issued the report, in conjunction with a leading auto insurance company.

Drowsy Driving Safety ProgramsMany Americans are not getting enough sleep, according to the report, prompting them to start nodding off behind the wheel as they travel the roads for work, school, errands, or while on business. Professional drivers are not immune from the symptoms caused by lack of sleep. Overall, the report estimates that almost 83.6 million Americans are driving daily without the benefit of adequate sleep.

As part of a national effort to call attention to drowsy driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently updated its definition of “impaired driving” to include drowsy driving. Drunk, drugged and distracted driving are other conditions on the impaired driving list. Annual societal costs due to drowsy driving are estimated to be $109 billion according to a new projection developed by the NHTSA and released as part of this report.

Night workers, young drivers, and people with irregular shifts are among the high risk groups for drowsy driving, according to the report.

Solutions to counteract drowsy driving, as suggested by GHSA, include legislation, enforcement, education, infrastructure engineering and in-vehicle technologies.

Teenage drivers in particular are being targeted for continuing safety measures by the GHSA. As noted in the report, 49 states and the District of Columbia have Graduated Driver License (GDL) laws in place that, in part, place limits on a teen’s ability to drive during certain nighttime hours. The report states that GDL laws have reduced teen crashes between 40% and 60% during the restricted hours.

Starting the school day later is another recommendation contained in the report, which notes that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now advocates for a school start time of 8:30 a.m. or later for middle and high school students.

Sleep Smart, Drive Smart is an alliance based in Utah that recognizes the dangers of sleepy drivers, and strives to educate the public about the hazards of drowsy driving. The Alliance is recognized in the GHSA report as one model for public education efforts.

According to Sleep Smart, Drive Smart, sleepy drivers have difficulty focusing, may be slow to recognize dangerous road conditions, and are at risk of losing control of the car while fighting off sleep.

Click on the link to access the full GHSA report titled, “Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do.”

Auto Policy Experience of Insurance Expert Bill Hager

Bill Hager has had extensive and substantive experience relating directly to personal automobile insurance policies (inclusive of commercial auto policies) including interpreting policy language and determining the insurer’s obligations under such policies.

As a regulator for eight years in five positions ((i) Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Department of Insurance, (ii) First Deputy Commissioner of Insurance, (iii) Iowa Commissioner of Insurance, (iv) Administrative Law Judge, and (v) Executive and Member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners), Mr. Hager, along with his staff, approved (or disapproved) of the language of personal automobile insurance policies used by each of the 1,000 personal automobile insurance companies doing business in Iowa.

This regulatory action also included the approval of most all policy application forms and policy forms. In addition, he regularly served as an Administrative Law Judge in matters relating directly to personal automobile insurance policies.

Mr. Hager testifies frequently as an expert witness on personal and commercial auto insurance policies, and has been qualified to do so in several states.

Click on the link to read more about Mr. Hager’s experience as an auto insurance expert.


Material for this article was taken from a collection of industry sources relating to the subject.

In all of the general statements here, see the state law of the controlling jurisdiction. Every case is different and circumstances vary widely depending on the governing state law, policy provisions, and related considerations.

This blog is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or an opinion in regard to any topic discussed. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.