Many of us have hectic schedules that can interfere with sleep at times. Work, school, family, and a social life can seriously cut into the time we sleep. However, some people do not acknowledge that they are too tired to drive. They still get behind the wheel of a vehicle even though they are tired and drowsy. Sadly, drowsy driving can be as dangerous as driving while impaired. A drowsy driver should be held responsible for damages caused by a drowsy driving accident.
How Deadly is Drowsy Driving?
According to the NHTSA, 736 fatal crashes and 33,000 injury crashes during 2015 involved drowsy drivers. Over a five-year period from 2011 through 2015, there were 3,662 fatal drowsy driving accidents and 160,000 drowsy driving accidents involving injuries. The CDC reports that 1 in 25 drivers report falling asleep while driving a vehicle in the past 30 days. When a driver is drowsy, the driver pays less attention to the traffic and the road ahead. Drowsiness also decreases a driver’s ability to make good decisions and slows the driver’s reaction time. Therefore, if a driver is drowsy, the risk of causing a traffic accident increases.
Drowsy Driving and Commercial Drivers
Along with shift workers, third shift workers, and driver’s with untreated sleeping disorders, commercial truck drivers are more likely to drive while drowsy. Some companies push their drivers to drive long hours to shorten the time of delivery. Truck drivers who drive while fatigued and drowsy are risking their lives and the lives of others.
The FMCSA has strict limits on the number of hours a truck driver can operate a vehicle without breaks or sleep. The limits are designed to reduce the risk of large truck accidents.
What Should You Do If a Drowsy Driver Injures You?
Proving that a driver is drowsy may be difficult; therefore, we focus on the actions of the driver. For example, was the driver following too closely or did the driver fail to yield the right of way? By focusing on the actions of the driver that caused the crash, we can prove fault and liability, which are essential for recovering compensation for a car accident claim.
Some of the important steps that you need to take after a drowsy driving accident include:
- Call the police to report the crash
- Take pictures and a video of the accident scene, if possible
- Ask for the names and contact information for any eyewitnesses
- Seek medical attention, a delay in medical attention could make it more difficult to recover full compensation
- Do not agree to provide written or recorded statements or sign medical or other releases for the other driver’s insurance company
- Call a Sacramento drowsy driving accident attorney for a free consultation to discuss your legal options
Avoiding a Drowsy Driving Accident
Drinking coffee, eating, rolling the window down, or listening to loud music will not keep a drowsy driver awake. To avoid drowsy driving accidents, you should:
- Avoid driving when taking medications that cause drowsiness.
- Do not drive if you have not slept the recommended number of hours.
- If you feel drowsy, pull over to a safe location to rest.
- When traveling long distances, switch drivers periodically and take frequent breaks.
- If you have a sleep disorder, consult a doctor for treatment.
For more information, visit the NHTSA’s drowsy driving webpage.
Contact a Sacramento Drowsy Driving Accident Attorney