Thompson Law Group, P.C.

Drowsy driving a factor in many car accidents


Drivers know the signs of a driver who is under the influence or is distracted. What might come as a surprise to many is that drowsy driving carries many of the same hallmarks of DUI and distracted driving. It also has the same dangers of a car crash with the accompanying medical bills, lost wages and other problems from an accident. Research is now indicating that the problem of drowsy driving is far more prevalent than the federal government statistics showed.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety issued a report that drew troublesome conclusions as to the dangers of drowsy driving. Using cameras in vehicles, AAA watched drivers' behaviors. By doing this, it found that the statistics are eight times higher than what they were thought to be. Drowsy driving is believed to account for an estimated 10 percent of all accidents.

The practical difference between DUI and drowsy driving is based on a person using alcohol or an intoxicating substance before getting behind the wheel vs. a driver operating the vehicle while tired. Drowsy driving means that the driver is simply too tired to be driving safely. While that disparity is stark, drivers might not realize how risky it is to drive while drowsy. It does not translate into a significant difference when the drivers are driving - the dangers and behaviors are the same. Drivers who are drowsy will have a problem concentrating, lean forward, have trouble getting comfortable, among other telltale signs.

Commercial drivers are especially vulnerable to drowsy driving as they are confronted with time constraints and requirements of getting their delivery to its destination at a certain time. New electronic logging instruments are in place to regulate when truck drivers are resting. This is to avoid drivers going beyond the limits and driving while drowsy. Although this is a positive step, it will not stop all incidents of drowsy driving.

Those who are in a car collision should think about how and why it happened. This can be a crucial factor in a legal filing to be compensated. A full accident investigation can determine if drowsiness played a role and can be useful in litigation. A lawyer who understands all aspects of helping clients who have been injured in a car accident or lost a loved one in a wrongful death after a crash will provide guidance in filing a case.

Source: Pittsburgh.cbslocal.com, "AAA Study: Drowsy Driving Can Be As Dangerous As Drunk Driving," John Shumway, Feb. 8, 2018

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