According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 car accidents, 44,000 injuries, and 800 fatalities in a single year. Falling asleep while driving is very dangerous, but many drivers may not realize that feeling just slightly fatigued can seriously impact their ability to drive safely.
When you are sleepy behind the wheel, you are less able to pay attention to traffic and other hazards and may be slower to react if you need to stop or steer suddenly. Drowsy driving also affects your capacity to make sound driving decisions. You should consider pulling over to rest if you:
- Daydream or have wandering thoughts
- Drift from your lane
- Have difficulty keeping your head up
- Have trouble remembering the last few miles of your trip
- Lose focus and miss a turn or exit
- Struggle to keep your eyes open
- Yawn frequently
It is not just a lack of sleep that causes drowsy driving. Untreated sleep disorders, alcohol and drug use, and certain prescription medications can compromise a driver’s ability to pay attention and react in an emergency.
Liability in Drowsy Driving Accidents
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calls drowsy driving one of the most unrecognized safety traffic safety problems currently facing Americans. Unlike speed radars and breathalyzer devices, there is no clear test for drowsy driving, making it challenging to prove liability in the event of a wreck.
In most states, drowsy driving can be prosecuted under laws regarding reckless or negligent driving. Investigators use camera footage, GPS tracking, and cell phone records to recreate the accident scene in drowsy driving cases. They may also introduce evidence of the driver’s behavior or habits prior to the accident, such as an overnight work shift or use of medications that potentially cause drowsiness.
Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Both impact a driver’s capacity to make safe decisions and respond quickly. For a long time, proving drowsy driving as a mitigating factor in a motor vehicle collision was challenging. The good news for victims is drowsy driving is increasingly being recognized as a legitimate cause of many serious and fatal car accidents. If you have been injured by a fatigued driver, justice is possible.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Victims of Drowsy Driving Accidents
In South Carolina, auto wrecks are the leading cause of injury and death. For victims of drowsy driving crashes, proving liability can be challenging. The Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. are fully prepared to tackle complex drowsy driving cases and protect your rights. We focus on obtaining the compensation you need for your medical expenses and lost income, so you can focus on healing. To schedule a free consultation, call 866-881-8623 or contact us online.
Our attorneys are proud to provide the highest quality legal service and exceptional representation to injured victims and their families throughout South Carolina, including the areas of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.