Fatigued driving is becoming an issue in the United States. While there is no law in place that punishes a driver for fatigued driving – or gives them a citation – causing an accident while fatigued constitutes negligence. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations have restrictions on how many hours commercial motor vehicle drivers are allowed to be on the road operating their vehicle.
Fatigued driving, also known as drowsy driving, is equally as dangerous as distracted and drunken driving. Per the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 21 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents are caused by a fatigued driver. Per their study, the AAA estimates that drowsy driving plays a role in approximately 328,000 crashes each year.
These numbers are most likely grossly underestimated because further surveys among drivers find that 4.2 percent of drivers admit to drowsy driving and falling asleep at least once behind the wheel in a 30-day period.
Who is Likely to Drive Fatigued?
Those who are more likely to drive drowsy are shift workers, semi-truck drivers, and those who do not get at least six to eight hours of sleep each night. Also, drivers with sleep disorders, such as apnea or insomnia, are more likely to drive fatigued – and potentially cause a serious accident.
Lastly, medications that cause drowsiness increase the chances a person could drive fatigued. Even over-the-counter medications should be used with caution if they cause drowsiness. Taking a medication, prescription or over-the-counter prescription that makes you drowsy is still negligent if you cause an accident.
The Symptoms of Drowsy Driving
- Yawning or blinking
- Cannot recall the last few miles driven
- Drifting from the lane frequently
- Missing exits and turns
- Inability to focus on the road
Drowsy Driving is a Breach of a Driver’s Duty of Care
In a personal injury case, it comes down to duty and breach of duty. All motorists have a duty to operate their vehicle safely, and that includes not driving while impaired. Impairments, like drowsiness, make it difficult for a driver to react quickly, follow vehicles safely, or avoid incidents. Therefore, a driver that is too tired to operate their vehicle safely has breached his or her duty of care.
Once the breach is established, it is easier for an attorney to hold that driver accountable – and require that they pay a victim compensation for their breach.
Compensation in a Drowsy Driving Case
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver, you may receive compensation for your injuries and property damage. Some damages (compensation) might include:
- Medical Costs – Hospitalizations, therapy, surgery, treatments, ambulance transportation, medications, over-the-counter drugs, medical equipment, and follow-up appointments for the past and future expenses (associated directly with the accident).
- Lost Wages and Future Wages – All wages lost while recovering from the accident as well as the loss of future wages and earning capacity if injuries are permanent.
- Pain and Suffering – Covers all physical pain, mental anguish, depression, anxiety, and emotional injuries stemming from the injury.
Injured by a Fatigued Driver? You Need an Advocate
Proving that a driver was drowsy is not easy. As the plaintiff of a personal injury claim, the burden of proof falls on your shoulders. While you focus on recovering from your injuries, speak with an attorney from Shlosman Law Firm in New Orleans.
Our advocates will handle the investigations, and we negotiate with insurance companies and defense attorneys to reach the best possible settlement for our clients. If the insurance companies and/or defense attorneys are not agreeable to our terms, we will take them to court and fight for justice.
To get started, schedule a free case evaluation at 504-826-9427 or request your consultation online.