Drowsy Driving Accidents in Baltimore County
You may want to think twice the next time you decide to get behind the wheel if you are feeling a bit tired and sluggish. Even if you have not had anything to drink, or any sedating drugs in your system, drowsy driving is more dangerous than you might expect. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving is responsible for more than 100,000 car accidents every year, resulting in approximately 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths across the country. Unfortunately, this is a significant problem in the United States, one that the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calls one of the most unrecognized traffic safety hazards in America.
Studies show that people who have gone without sleep for 21 hours can experience a similar effect as if they had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent. As a result, drivers’ ability to focus or to make quick decisions may be compromised, causing them to miss turns, go through stop signs, drift into other lanes, or swerve into oncoming traffic. Any of these scenarios could result in serious, life-threatening accidents.
Who is at Greater Risk for Drowsy Driving Accidents?
Anyone who has not gotten enough sleep is at risk for being involved in a drowsy driving car accident, but the National Sleep Foundation found that the following people are more likely to fall asleep at the wheel than other drivers:
- People who have had less than six hours of sleep, or are sleep deprived in general, are three times more likely to cause a car accident.
- Long-haul drivers, and other individuals in the transportation industry, are at greater risk of being in car accidents. Approximately 15 percent of big rig truck accidents are fatigue-related.
- Anyone with a chronic or undiagnosed sleep disorder, including sleep apnea, is up to seven times more likely to fall asleep as the wheel.
- Night shift workers are known to be six times more likely to be involved in a drowsy driving car wreck.
- Anyone who is taking medication that is known to cause drowsiness, including antidepressants, sleep-aids, and antihistamines.
- People who generally work more than 60 hours per week are at a 40 percent greater risk.
- Young, male drivers under the age of 26.
According to a AAA survey, 41 percent of drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at least once, and 10 percent said that they dozed off while driving at least once within the past year. Unlike drunk driving, or texting while driving, drowsy driving can be difficult to prove. There is no test comparable to the Breathalyzer that definitively proves when driver is drowsy, with the possible exception of testing their blood for certain medications. However, authorities consider certain factors that help determine whether driver fatigue caused the wreck, including the following:
- Tire skid mark analysis
- The driver’s employment records, which can show the number of hours he or she worked without a break for sleep
- Traffic cameras, if they captured images of the driver’s behavior just prior to the accident
- If the vehicle is a newer model, it may come equipped with a vehicle data recorder, which can provide evidence on how the person was driving at the time of the accident
- Witness testimonies can help if someone saw the driver nodding off or driving erratically
Baltimore County Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Victims of Drowsy Driving Accidents
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a drowsy driving-related car accident, you are urged to contact the experienced Baltimore County car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. Drowsy driving is a serious issue, and we will aggressively pursue the maximum financial compensation you deserve. We will not stop fighting until justice has been served. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.