Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers
Drowsy Driving Increases Risk of Car Accidents in Maryland
Drowsy driving is a major cause of car accidents. Experts estimate that as many as 328,000 crashes each year are caused by a drowsy driver. Roughly one-third of these crashes result in serious injury; and another 6,400 prove fatal. Yet unlike other dangerous driving activities, such as drunk driving and distracted driving, the problem of drowsy driving has gone widely unrecognized.
In 2014, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released the results of a comprehensive study on drowsy driving in America. The report detailed just how widespread the problem is. A survey conducted for the National Sleep Foundation revealed that 60% of adult drivers admit to driving while drowsy in the past year, and more than one-third (37%) say they have actually fallen asleep behind the wheel. Statistics show that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. According to one study, being awake for 24 hours can have a negative effect on driver performance equal to that of having a blood alcohol level of 0.10% – beyond the legal limit in every state. Driving on too-little sleep can lead to slower reaction times, reduced attentiveness and poor decision making.
Risk Factors for a Drowsy Driving Car Accident
While anyone can be at risk for a drowsy driving car accident, studies show that certain groups and lifestyle behaviors may increase the risk. This includes:
- Young people, especially males under age 26
- Shift workers and those working more than 60 hours per week
- People taking certain prescriptions or over the counter medications with sedating effects such as antihistamines, sleep-aids and antidepressants
- Commercial truck drivers, especially long-haul drivers
- People with undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorders
- Anyone who is sleep deprived or has had less than six hours of sleep
- Driving long distances, or for three or more hours without a break
- Driving at times during which circadian sleepiness peaks, especially late in the afternoon and at night
- Any of the above factors combined with even small amounts of alcohol consumption
Determining Liability in a Drowsy Driving Car Accident
Proving fatigue was the primary factor in a motor vehicle crash is not easy. Unlike impairment by alcohol, impairment by drowsiness or fatigue cannot be determined using a Breathalyzer or blood test. Moreover, many drivers are reluctant to admit that they had fallen asleep or may not even realize that their performance was hindered by fatigue. However, with the assistance of investigative experts and a skilled Maryland accident lawyer, it is possible to prove fatigue was the leading cause of a wreck. Evidence that may provide useful in a personal injury claim includes:
- Driver’s log book – if the accident involved a commercial truck
- Employment records showing that the driver had been working long hours with inadequate time for rest
- Lack of skid marks – indicating that the driver failed to brake
- Traffic or surveillance cameras showing the driver’s behavior before the crash
- Vehicle data recorders – some newer vehicles are equipped with technology that can record the vehicle’s movements before impact
- Witness testimony indicating that the driver was seen nodding off or swerving before the crash
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Fight for Justice and Compensation for Victims of Drowsy Driving
Drivers impaired by fatigue are a danger to themselves and everyone they share the road with and when their negligence causes harm to others, we hold them accountable. At LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, our Baltimore car accident lawyers have successfully represented thousands of injured accident victims, including those hurt in a crash caused by a drowsy driver. Call 800-547-4LAW (4529) today to schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified Maryland accident lawyers. A knowledgeable member of our legal team is available to take your call 24 hours a day or you can contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Towson, allowing us to represent accident victims and their families throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood and Elkridge.