It is not a crime to drive while drowsy as it is to drive while drunk. However, tired drivers can be dangerous and can cause accidents just like drunk drivers do. Tired drivers may also be held liable in a civil lawsuit for their actions.
How Big Is the Problem?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that about 100,000 crashes occur in the United States each year because of drowsy driving and that about 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries result from these accidents.
However, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) believes that these numbers may be just the “tip of the iceberg” and that many more accidents, fatalities, and injuries may actually be caused by tired drivers. Similarly the AAA Foundation estimates that about 21 percent of all fatal crashes are caused by tired drivers.
Why Are There So Many Tired Drivers?
A drowsy driving accident may occur even if you do not actually fall asleep at the wheel.
Anyone who does not get a good night’s sleep can cause a crash. Drivers from every age group and all demographic divisions drive while fatigued, although the problem may be more significant for drivers under the age of 29. Some common factors that lead to drowsy drivers of all ages include:
- Driving for long periods of time
- Working a job with inconsistent hours
- Taking medication
- Having children
Caffeine, listening to music, and open windows are no substitute for rest and may not be effective in preventing dangerous drowsy driving crashes.
How to Recover If You’ve Been Hurt by a Tired Driver
In order to recover damages for your car accident injuries, you are going to have to prove that a drowsy driver caused your car accident. Driving while fatigued is a form of negligence.
Of course, you have no way of knowing just how tired the other driver was when the accident occurred. However, an experienced car accident lawyer knows what questions to ask and what evidence to obtain in order to establish if the other driver was drowsy. Accordingly, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your potential recovery of past, current and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, pain, suffering, and other damages. To learn more, please start a live chat with us now.