Driving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. In fact, once a driver has been awake for 24 hours, their body will act as though it has more than the legal limit of alcohol in its system. Drivers that nod off while they drive are especially dangerous because they do not react at all to an impending crash. If you or a loved one has been in an accident with someone who may have been drowsy or asleep at the wheel, you have legal options that you should discuss with a car accident attorney.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that one in 25 adults have fallen asleep while driving in the past 30 days. The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that there are 328,000 accidents every year that are caused, at least partially, by drowsy driving. Of those, 109,000 will cause injuries, and 6,400 will result in a fatality.
Drowsy driving is a serious problem for those who spend hours on the road at a time, including commercial truck drivers. In fact, experts estimate that between 10 and 20 percent of all large truck or bus crashes involve a driver who is tired.
Driving while you are tired lowers your ability to drive effectively. Sleepy drivers may have the following deficiencies:
There is no real way to test drivers to determine if they are sleep deprived or drowsy at the time of an accident. In most situations, you will have to rely on how the accident occurred to determine whether a driver was drowsy or asleep at the while. For example, if you are rear-ended while sitting at a stop light, it is very possible that the driver that hit you was asleep or at least not paying attention when they hit your vehicle. In some circumstances, the other driver will outright admit that he or she was nodding off just before the accident.
Tired drivers will exhibit many of the same behavior patterns as drunk drivers. For instance, drivers that are having trouble staying awake may end up hitting the rumble strips on the side of the road on several occasions. They may drift into your lane as well. A driver may also have trouble keeping a constant speed or stable distance from the vehicles around them.
If you notice a driver struggling with these items, it is a good idea to keep your distance. In some severe cases, you may want to make a call to law enforcement to warn them of the driver’s dangerous behaviors. Getting that person off the road can save a life.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a drowsy driver car accident, call the Hollywood car accident attorneys at Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA. Our team can help you determine whether you should assert a legal claim.