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Car Accidents and the Drowsy Driving Crisis

Aug 4, 2016 | Car Accidents, Personal Injury

Drowsy driving is one of the single most dangerous things someone can do on the road, as drowsy driving causes a very similar impairing effect to drunk driving. Drowsy driving has become such a problem that it has become necessary to convene panels made up of academics and safety experts to try to resolve the problem. One such panel was recently conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health. The panel was called “Asleep at the Wheel,” and panel members referred to drowsy driving as an “epidemic.”

When drowsy driving occurs, there is a significant likelihood a serious car accident will occur. New York City injury attorneys should be consulted by victims of such an accident or by family members of anyone who is killed in a fatal drowsy driving crash. The fatigued driver should be held accountable for making the dangerous decision to drive while too tired.

Drowsy Driving is an Epidemic Causing Accidents & Injuries

The Asleep at the Wheel panel was focused on discussing the “crisis of fatigued driving along with possible solutions,” according to the Huffington Post. Panel experts agreed it is no longer advisable to take just baby steps in trying to deal with the problem of distracted driving, as more than 300,000 car accidents each year are estimated to involve fatigued drivers. As many as 6,400 of the drowsy driving accidents which occur nationwide annually result in someone’s death.  This is the equivalent of two 9/11s occurring every single year, just because motorists continue to drive when they are too fatigued to be safe.

A number of different suggestions were made to try to address the problem of drowsy driving.  One option is to try to increase public awareness of the issue of drowsy driving. This could be done in a similar manner to public education campaigns about drunk driving.  Many people are sleep deprived and need to commit to getting more rest, as well as not continuing to drive when they are too fatigued.  Drawing attention to the problem and getting motorists to commit to at least one night a week of good sleep could help to reduce crash rates.

Another panelist suggested reframing the concept of drowsy driving to instead be described as “sleep deficient driving.” This could make a difference, because some of the people who drive while fatigued may not even realize the risk they are presenting. Many people who don’t get sufficient sleep end up running on adrenaline and don’t even become aware they are actually more tired than they should be.

Public education and changing the conversation have been suggested as solutions, because criminalizing drowsy driving is difficult or impossible. It is impossible to test for fatigue like you can test for alcohol.  Still, the NHTSA has expanded its list of driving infractions to include drowsy driving, and drivers can be held accountable civilly if their negligence in driving while fatigued causes an accident to happen.  Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff can help victims pursue a case for compensation so at least fatigued drivers (or their insurers) can be made to pay for the losses they cause.