The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
The operation of a motor vehicle while fatigued and tired is often referred to as “drowsy driving.” According to a recent annual report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 697 fatalities attributed to drowsy driving in the US.
Sleepiness or fatigue can affect a driver in different ways, including:
- Impaired judgment
- Reduced reaction times
- Difficulty focusing
- Decreased alertness
- Decline in attention
- Impaired vision
- Unable to process information quickly
- Difficulty processing thoughts
Even just one of these symptoms will impair a driver’s ability to drive safely. Being overly tired dulls a person’s senses and makes one forgetful. As an example, a fatigued driver may attempt to change lanes but forget to check his or her blind spots and sideswipe the vehicle in the adjacent lane.
Who is Driving Drowsy?
A study by the AAA Foundation found that over a 24-hour period, the risk of an accident steadily increased when compared to drivers who slept the recommended 7 hours or more.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the following groups are more likely to drive drowsy:
- Drivers who are sleep deprived
- Commercial drivers of vehicles such as tow trucks, buses, and tractor-trailers
- Night shift workers
- Drivers with untreated sleep disorders
- Drivers who take medications that make them sleepy
Signs a Person is Too Tired to Drive
One of the most dangerous places to be if you have not had enough sleep is behind the wheel. Driving is a complicated task that requires attention and focus. When you are fatigued, you could fall asleep at the wheel or make a driving error that results in a serious car accident.
If you are driving and begin to experience any of the following, it may be a sign that you are too tired to drive:
- Frequent yawning, blinking, and eye rubbing
- Dozing or nodding off
- Feeling angry, restless, or irritated
- Difficulty maintaining a steady speed
- Frequent driving over the rumble strip
- Difficulty remembering the last few miles
- Erratic driving behavior
- Missing road signs or turns
Safety-conscious drivers will not ignore these warning symptoms and signs. If you are drowsy while driving, pull over to a safe location, take a brief nap, or swap out driving with a licensed passenger.
Why Hire a Lawyer After Your Drowsy Driving Accident?
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be wondering whether you should file a claim on your own or hire a car accident attorney. Property damage or minor injury claims can be settled by filing a claim with the insurance company on your own, but it’s recommended to consult with a personal injury law firm.
Shortly following the motor vehicle accident, you will likely be contacted by the other driver’s insurance company. They may try to pressure you into accepting a quick low settlement offer. Remember, once you sign paperwork for a payout amount, you cannot go back and request more money later on. For this reason, it is recommended to speak with a personal injury attorney before accepting any offer from the insurance company.
After taking on your case, your drowsy driving accident lawyer will:
- File all necessary paperwork
- Handle all communications with the insurance companies
- Investigate the cause of the car accident
- Identify all liable parties
- Defend your legal rights
- Negotiate a just and fair settlement
- Take your case to court if necessary
When you have a skilled car accident lawyer from Judd Shaw Injury Law on your side, you can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are receiving the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to receive.
How to Prove Drowsy Driving Caused Your Car Accident
In order to win a car accident claim based on drowsy driving, you will need to provide evidence that the other driver was fatigued. Unfortunately, this can be difficult unless the driver slips up and openly admits to driving while drowsy.
When a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, this can be proven through a breathalyzer or blood test. Currently, there are no tests available to prove whether a motorist is guilty of drowsy driving. However, there are signs of fatigued driving that your personal injury lawyer could use to build your case.
While conducting an investigation of your accident, your lawyer may look for:
- Surveillance footage that recorded the accident
- Work records indicating the motorist suffered from a lack of sleep
- Medical history that includes sleep apnea or other sleep disorders
- A lack of skid marks at the scene of the accident, indicating they made no attempt to brake or stop
- Phone records, receipts, social media posts, credit card records, and other evidence proving the fatigued driver had been awake for an extended period of time.
- Statements from witnesses that confirm the driver was acting erratically before the accident
- The time of the accident and the driver’s activities that day (long or overnight work shifts, etc.)
- Signs of reckless driving such as speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, or failing to signal
The skilled legal team at Judd Shaw Injury Law has successfully handled many drowsy driving accident claims. We know what evidence is needed to build a solid case for our clients.
The Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of all commercial truck accidents. It has been reported that 13 percent of all commercial truck drivers were fatigued at the time of their collisions.
Why are truck drivers so fatigued? Some trucking companies require their drivers to deliver cargo within an unreasonably short period of time, forcing them to forgo needed rest to meet the deadline. The government has issued laws specifically regulating how long a driver can go without breaks or sleep. Unfortunately, truck drivers often ignore these regulations and push themselves to the point of exhaustion. Even if commercial truck drivers are following regulations, they can still be drowsy driving. A person may feel more rested if falling asleep at approximately the same time every night, but the busy schedule that truck drivers keep does not usually allow them to follow a regular sleep pattern.
If you were injured in a semi accident and suspect that the truck driver was fatigued, your lawyer can gather evidence to help prove the driver was drowsy. One important piece of evidence in truck accident cases is the vehicle’s black box, sometimes called an event data recorder (EDR).
Information found in the black box may include:
- How fast the truck was traveling at the time of the accident
- Whether the brakes were applied and when
- How often the driver took his or her federally required breaks
- Whether the driver accelerated or decelerated before the crash
- How many accidents the truck was involved in and the duration between incidents
The data found in the black box may be deleted soon after the truck accident. For this reason, it is important to contact a drowsy driving accident lawyer as soon as possible after the collision. He or she can subpoena the records found on the EDR, preventing them from being deleted.
Recovering Compensation After a Drowsy Driving Accident
Injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating. Victims may be left unable to work for an extended period of time, all while accumulating a mountain of medical bills.
A personal injury claim or lawsuit can help take some of the financial burdens off of your shoulders. The amount of money you are eligible to receive will depend partially on the extent of your injuries and who is liable for the accident.
Depending on the situation, a drowsy driving accident lawyer may help you recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
If you suffered the tragic loss of a loved one due to a car accident, the compassionate attorneys at our law firm may be able to help you file a wrongful death lawsuit. This could include reimbursement for funeral expenses, burial costs, loss of support, and more.
Contact a Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyer Today
If you or someone you love was injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident, contact Judd Shaw Injury Law as soon as possible. Our personal injury attorneys can investigate whether the driver was fatigued, drowsy, or otherwise negligent. Our legal team can also negotiate a settlement on your behalf or litigate your case in court.
Our law firm believes that, after being injured in an accident, the last thing you should have to worry about is whether you can afford legal aid. We thus offer all our clients our No Fee Guarantee®, our promise that you do not owe us anything unless your case is successful and you are awarded a settlement.
Contact us 24/7 at 866-909-6894 or complete our online form to schedule a free case review. Our car accident lawyers have decades of experience fighting for New Jersey and New York auto accident victims.