Unfortunately, each year, drowsy drivers cause over 100,000 vehicle accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Due to inconsistent reporting practices by states, NHTSA estimates that drowsy driving may play a role in 1,550 deaths each year, although many safety advocates say this number is probably low.
Frighteningly, the National Sleep Foundation has reported that 60 percent of Americans have driven while tired and 37 percent have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel over the past year.
If you ever feel fatigued while driving, you should safely pull off the roadway and try to get some sleep or have another passenger assist you. According NHTSA, the people most at risk for drowsy driving are:
- Young people (ages 16 to 29), especially males.
- Shift workers whose sleep is disrupted by working at night, or who work long or irregular hours.
- People with untreated sleep apnea syndrome and narcolepsy.
Keep in mind, if you cause a car accident because you are drowsy driving, you can be held liable.
Sadly, in October, Maryland State Police said that the driver of a pickup truck in Leonardtown fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into an oncoming car, killing one person.
Can I File a Lawsuit If I Am Injured by a Driver’s Negligence?
It is your duty as a driver to make sure that you are not too tired to drive. There are options for you to avoid drowsy driving, including:
- Paying attention for signs of fatigue
- Stopping driving (pulling into a rest area to take a nap)
- Consuming caffeine
- Letting a passenger takeover driving
Remember, if you are injured or your loved one is killed in an accident involving a drowsy driver, you should contact an attorney. You may have a potential claim, and could seek compensation relating to pain and suffering.
Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP