The risks of drowsy driving are widely known, but negligent drivers continue to operate vehicles while they are sleep-deprived. Quick reactions, alertness, and focus are critical to safe driving. Sleepy, drowsy, or fatigued drivers are often unable to react in time when a precarious situation occurs on the road.
In fact, research shows that a driver that has not slept for 20 hours or more has the same reaction time as a drunk driver. Fatigued and sleepy driving increases the risk of car accidents by almost three times. If you have suffered injuries in a drowsy driving accident, a qualified car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation and justice you deserve.
Statistics Related to Drowsy Driving and Car Accidents
According to figures published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), sleepy driving causes nearly 1,000 fatal accidents every year. Drowsy driving is also responsible for more than 37,000 injuries annually. These are conservative numbers since the cause of the accident is not readily conclusive or apparent.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that drowsy driving is the cause of as many as 109,000 injuries and 6,400 fatalities each year. Drowsy driving has the following typical characteristics:
- Occurs in the late afternoon or between midnight and 6 AM.
- Has severe consequences with 1 in 5 drowsy driving crashes involving a fatality.
- Over 50% of drowsy driving accidents involve veering off the roadway or out of lanes.
- Occurs on highways or high-speed rural roads.
- Driver is usually alone in the car.
- Alcohol plays a primary factor in drowsy driving accidents.
Risks of Drowsy Driving on Alabama Roads
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research recently convened a panel for defining and combating drowsy driving. They came up with the following risk factors:
- Drowsy driving impairs the body’s ability to react to situations in the same way as alcohol. Lack of sleep reduces a driver’s ability to integrate information quickly, process, or pay attention.
- Sleep fatigue causes the highest number of fatal injuries as compared to all other causes in non-alcohol-related car crashes.
- Drowsy driving enhances the effect of alcohol on the body. Data presented by experts show that individuals that did not sleep for 8 hours and had a low dose of alcohol are 4 times more likely to swerve off roads as compared to individuals that consumed alcohol but got their 8 hours of sleep. Individuals on 4 hours of sleep swerved off the road 15 times in the study even when they were not inebriated.
Drowsy driving is exceptionally dangerous because it is highly common. As per a 2005 Sleep in America poll carried out by the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of adult drivers admitted to driving drowsily in the 12 months leading to the poll. Further, 37% of adult drivers actually admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel.
Dangerous Lack of Sleep Can be Considered Negligence
Lack of sleep involves daydreaming, yawning, heavy eyelids, restlessness, forgetfulness, and an inability to keep the head up. Getting tired is the body’s way of saying that it needs sleep and rest. Feeling sleepy is completely natural. However, if you choose to ignore the warning signs and drive, it can amount to negligence.
It’s not always easy to prove drowsy driving. An experienced car accident attorney can be helpful in identifying and proving this type of negligence. Your personal injury attorney can also help you get the compensation you deserve.
Get an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer to Prove Liability in a Drowsy Driving Car Accident
Drowsy driving accidents can be devastating because the negligent driver is not in full control of their senses. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries because the other driver was sleep deprived, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit and claim compensation for your injury and losses. Based on this, you should understand that the insurance company is not going to be on your side. They would want to reduce the compensation or deny it entirely.
An experienced accident attorney can gather the evidence required for filing a lawsuit if the insurance company denies or refuses to offer a fair settlement offer. Your attorney will take of the legal legwork while you recuperate from your injuries. Competent car accident attorneys can aggressively advocate on your behalf to seek the compensation you deserve.
Established law firms have trained investigators and specialized experts on their teams. These professionals can help in building a strong claim. Statistics show that claims backed by reputable attorneys are always taken more seriously by insurance companies. Your attorney will have a better idea about the kind of evidence to look for.
For instance, evidence can be in the form of witness testimonials regarding the driver’s behavior before and after the accident, medical records showing fatigue-related illness or sleep deprivation, surveillance footage or dash cam footage showing the driver with sleepy eyes, or the driver failing to take necessary action before the crash.
Our Personal Injury Attorneys Will Fight to Maximize Your Damages and Hold the Responsible Driver Accountable
If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident caused by sleep deprivation of another driver or any other type of negligence, the experienced car accident attorneys at the law firm of Frank M. Wilson can help you get the compensation you are entitled to. Schedule your free and confidential consultation with us today. Call us at (334) 420-2931 or write to us online.