Driving while drowsy puts everyone on the road at riskIt happens all the time.

  • Drivers on long trips push for just a few more miles…
  • After a long shift at work, someone climbs behind the wheel even though he is exhausted…
  • Aunt Sadie was planning to share driving duties with Uncle Carl on the trip to Savannah, but Carl wasn’t feeling well yesterday and Sadie was up half the night with him. Now Aunt Sadie is driving alone, and she’s two hours late for the luncheon…

Drowsy and fatigued driving occurs when tired drivers get behind the wheel. A number of studies have reported that drowsy drivers are often just as impaired as drunk drivers, with slow reaction times, an inability to concentrate, and a decreased awareness of their surroundings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 25 adults have fallen asleep behind the wheel, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 accidents and 800 deaths in 2013. Learn more about this serious traffic safety risk here.

Who Is at Risk for Drowsy Driving Accidents?

While drowsy and fatigued driving is a most commonly associated with commercial drivers, these accidents can happen to anyone. The CDC says those most at risk for drowsy driving incidents are:

  • Commercial drivers
  • People who do not get enough sleep
  • Shift workers
  • People with untreated sleep disorders
  • People on medication with sleepiness as a side effect

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Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving

There are a variety of reasons why a driver might be tired behind the wheel. Often, drowsy driving crashes involve just a single vehicle. However, there are many situations in which a tired driver causes a crash that results in injuries or even death to others on the road. The National Sleep Foundation names these warning signs to help recognize when you or another driver are too tired to drive:

  • Drifting out of the marked lane
  • Yawning or blinking
  • Hitting rumble strips on the side of the road
  • Difficulty remembering the last few miles traveled
  • Missing an exit or traffic signs

What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt by a Drowsy Driver

It can be difficult to determine who's at fault in auto accidents involving drowsy drivers. There is no clear test, as for drunk or drugged drivers. However, there are some clues to indicate that fatigue played a role in a traffic accident, and those clues can be found in police reports, statistical estimates, and factors such as time of day and crash type. A skilled personal injury attorney can help victims examine their situation and determine how best to proceed.

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a crash with a drowsy driver, you may be entitled to make a claim. Contact the experienced lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about protecting your rights.

Jaret A. Spevak
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Atlanta Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Attorney With 20+ Years Experience