Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while fatigued can have many consequences, from drifting out of your lane to resulting in a deadly crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that driver fatigue is responsible for about 70,000 crashes, 40,000 injuries and 800 deaths every year. Driver fatigue is typically caused by a lack of sleep, though it may also be caused by drivers who have a sleeping disorder, medication, alcohol or shift work. While falling asleep at the wheel is very dangerous, drowsiness can be just as dangerous, as drowsiness slows down reaction time, affects vision and ability to focus and causes drivers to nod off or completely fall asleep.
Proving a driver’s drowsiness is not as simple as proving intoxication. While crash investigators may suspect that drowsiness contributed to driver error, their clues are not conclusive. The time of the accident may support a drivers drowsiness, as most fatigued driver accidents occur late at night, early dawn or in the mid afternoon. Determining if driver fatigue was the cause of an accident can also be done by considering the manner in which the accident occurred. If the accident was caused by a simple driver error, which typically would not occur if a driver was in the right state of mind, or drifting into other lanes or the opposite side of the road, it is likely that driver fatigue was responsible for the driver’s actions. In accidents involving truck drivers, a record of the driver’s hours can help determine if driver fatigue played a part.
Crashes caused by driver fatigue involving just one vehicle may allow passengers to seek compensation from the driver’s insurance. In the event of a multi-car crash, such as a driver failing to break or crossing onto oncoming traffic, that may allow for all individuals involved to seek compensation for injuries, as well as property damage. If you or a loved one was injured or killed as a direct result of driver fatigue, call Darfoor Law Firm at 1-833-DARFOOR to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer for a free consultation.
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