Did you know that scientifically speaking, driving while fatigued has similar effects to driving while intoxicated? Yes, it is true – driving after being awake for 20 hours is almost like driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% according to the National Safety Council. You don’t have to be awake for 20+ hours for the effects of fatigue to kick in. If you are more tired than normal, you can still suffer from slower reaction times and temporary lapses in judgment, all of which affect your ability to operate a vehicle safely. Just one split second of inattention on the road can lead to a crash that can upend someone’s life in an instant.
Drowsy Driving Statistics
Nowadays, people seem to be as busy as ever with work, friends, and family demands all piling up. We want to try to make everything work, and this desire to fit everything in can cause us to push ourselves. Unfortunately, operating on too little rest leads to accidents throughout the country every day.
Did you know?
- Each year there are almost 100,000 drowsy driving-related accidents reported to the police, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- According to AAA, the number of total drowsy driving-related crashes is more like 328,000
- Not including damage to property, drowsy driving costs society over $109 billion each year
- According to a survey, 4% of drivers admitted to falling asleep at least once in the prior 30 days
Car Accidents Caused by Drowsy Drivers
If someone is too tired to drive, they may experience some, or all, of the following symptoms:
- Drifting in and out of a lane
- Head bobbing
- Nodding off
- Difficulty keeping one’s eyes open
- Missing road signs
When a driver experiences any of the above symptoms, he or she is more likely to make an improper lane change, veer off the side of the road, make an improper turn, or fail to maintain a safe lookout, for example. These actions, including driving while fatigued, are examples of negligence under the law.
If a driver’s drowsiness contributes to an accident, his or her insurance company will be responsible for your losses and injuries. If that individual did not have valid insurance, or not enough insurance to cover your damages, you can file an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim. To recover compensation, you will have to prove the defendant driver’s fatigue caused the accident and your injuries. An experienced car accident lawyer will know what to look for and how to examine the available evidence in terms of proving fault. Sometimes the responding police officer will notate “driver fatigue” on the police report, but if not, the proof will have to come from other sources. Examples include witness testimony and video footage from nearby businesses. If the at-fault driver was working for a company or otherwise on-the-clock, like a Lyft driver, your attorney will want to look at the employment file and driving logs.
In any type of car accident, but especially a wreck involving fatigued driving, preserving and obtaining evidence is of utmost importance. Before speaking with any insurance company, even your own, you have the right to consult with your own lawyer. An experienced auto accident attorney should be able to properly explain the law to you as well as your legal rights. Be sure to ask about their experience in terms of handling motor vehicle accident cases as well as what steps they plan on taking to thoroughly investigate your accident.