How Dangerous is Drowsy Driving?

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsy driving is a growing problem throughout the country. Generally, drowsy driving occurs when a driver has not gotten enough sleep the previous night. However, it may also occur when there are undiagnosed sleep disorders, or if the driver has consumed alcohol or taken certain medications. Shift workers are especially at risk of engaging in drowsy driving.

When drivers are drowsy, they are less likely to make good decisions while driving. Their reaction times are also slowed and they cannot pay attention to the road as well.

The statistics are alarming. A survey asked adults 18 years or older if they had fallen asleep at the wheel in the previous month. Approximately 1 in 25 adults said that they had.

Further, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released data that concluded drowsy driving was to blame for 72,000 accidents in 2013. In these accidents, there were 44,000 injuries. Approximately 800 people died due to drowsy driving in 2013. However, because there is no test for drowsy driving as there is with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there could be up to 6,000 fatal car accidents caused by drowsy driving every year.

What are the signs of drowsy driving?  

It is important to know the signs of drowsy driving. If you notice any of these symptoms as you or someone else is driving, pull over to take a rest or switch drivers. Resting for at least 15-20 minutes is recommended. Turning the volume up on the radio or rolling the windows down will not help a driver stay alert.

  • Weaving out of your lane
  • Having trouble remembering the past few miles that were driven
  • Missing exits
  • Blinking frequently
  • Yawning frequently
  • Hitting rumble strips on the shoulder of the road

You should be especially mindful of these signs if you have not slept well the night before.

How is drowsy driving proven?

Sometimes, during an investigation into a motor vehicle accident, a driver admits that he or she was tired. Other times, law enforcement and other professionals must uncover evidence of drowsy driving. Examining surveillance footage from traffic cameras, analyzing GPS data, and studying the accident scene can all provide evidence which points toward a drowsy driver.

When drivers are too tired to operate a motor vehicle and cause an accident, they may be held liable for the injuries they cause in a personal injury lawsuit. Drowsy driving is an act of negligence. Victims of motor vehicle accidents caused by drowsy driving may be able to pursue their medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses caused by the crash.

Experienced personal injury attorneys know the signs of drowsy driving and pursue all avenues of recovery to obtain maximum compensation for their clients.

Call Chicago injury law firm Stein & Shulman, LLC for your free consultation

At Stein & Shulman, we take action against drowsy drivers. To schedule your consultation with our team, call 312.422.0500 today.

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