New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers Represent Victims of Drowsy Driving Accidents
Each year, anywhere from 400,000 to one million car accidents are attributed to drowsy drivers. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety labels drowsy driving as one of the most significant and unrecognized traffic safety hazards affecting Americans. Studies have proven that drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. In fact, going just 21 hours without sleep can have the same effect on a driver as if they had a blood alcohol content of 0.08%. Lack of adequate sleep can reduce attentiveness and hinder decision-making skills, leading a driver to miss an exit or traffic sign, drift out of lane on to a rumble strip, or worse – veer out of lane or across the highway causing a serious accident.
Risk Factors for Drowsy Driving
Our modern day culture of busy schedules, long working hours and little time off can put anyone at risk of a drowsy driving car accident. However, The National Sleep Foundation has identified certain persons that may be at increased risk of falling asleep at the wheel. These include:
- Young people, especially males under the age of 26.
- Shift workers and those who work long hours. Research has shown that night shift workers may be six times more likely to have a sleep-related accident.
- People with chronic or undiagnosed sleep disorders including sleep apnea may be up to seven times at greater risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
- People in the transportation industry, especially long-haul drivers. At least 15% of all heavy truck accidents can be attributed to fatigue.
- Those taking sedating medications such as antidepressants, sleep-aids, and antihistamines.
- Those working more than 60 hours per week are at a 40% greater risk.
- Anyone who is sleep deprived or has had less than six hours of sleep is three times more likely to cause a car accident.
Proving Drowsy Driving as Cause for an Accident
More than one in ten Americans admit to having fallen asleep behind the wheel within the past year, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Several government agencies are pushing to raise the stigma associated with drowsy driving to that of other highly publicized dangerous activities such as drunk driving, speeding, and distracted driving. While those behaviors may be easier to prove with the use of breathalyzer tests, skid mark analysis, and cell phone records, authorities are finding useful ways of determining if fatigue is a factor as well. These include:
- Witness testimony indicating the driver was seen nodding off or swerving excessively.
- Vehicle data recorders: many newer vehicles are equipped with technology that can record how a person was driving leading up to the crash.
- Analysis of skid mark length or lack of skid marks.
- Traffic cameras can show the driver’s behavior leading up to the crash.
- Employment records can show if the driver was working too long or with inadequate time for rest.
New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy Represent Victims Injured in Car Accidents Caused by Drowsy Drivers
When a driver gets behind the wheel, they assume the responsibility to keep themselves and everyone else on the road safe. Unfortunately, some ignore this responsibility when they decide to drive despite being impaired by drowsiness, drugs, or alcohol. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver, contact New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy. Our highly skilled and experienced accident attorneys will take action to ensure that all responsible parties are held accountable for their actions. We handle all types of personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout New Jersey Contact us online or call our number at 732-777-0100 today to schedule your no-cost consultation.