According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2015, over 100,000 motor vehicle crashes are directly attributable to driver fatigue every year. Those are only the drowsy driving accidents that were reported. Many more went unreported. That means driver fatigue contributes to far more accidents than we realize.
From the information that has been reported, over 1,500 deaths per year are connected with drowsy driving. Another 70,000 people are believed to be injured. The personal injury attorneys at Springer & Lyle are always available to answer your questions regarding motor vehicle accidents.
What comes to issue with drowsy driving is that without an admission by a driver, it’s nearly impossible to attribute the cause of an accident to fatigue. Unlike a DUI, there’s no determinative test to measure whether a person who caused an accident was sleepy or alert when it happened. A drunk driver isn’t going to sober up immediately after an accident. A fatigued driver will wake up and show no signs of an impaired condition.
Being fatigued at the wheel doesn’t necessarily mean that you fell asleep at the wheel. Falling asleep is at the far end of the scale. Fatigue involves being somewhere between being tired and being exhausted. Your body is nearly out of gas. You can be fatigued, and your driving can be impaired long before you fall asleep at the wheel.
Drowsy driving results in an inordinate number of single vehicle accidents or head on collisions where there are no skid marks or any other evidence of evasive maneuvers. In either case, you, your passengers, or other motorists can be severely injured or killed.
Fatigue has been an issue in the trucking industry for many years, but sometimes, drivers are only paid for their time driving. With very restrictive delivery schedules, drivers might pay penalties, lose bonuses or even their jobs by spending too much time off the road. Regulations require significant rest intervals for drivers, but it’s impossible to identify the quality of the rest the trucker gets before driving again.