As a State College Personal Injury Lawyer, the unfortunate truth is that many of my car accident clients share one thing in common and that is that their injuries came at the hands of a drunk driver. While it is often clear when someone has been drinking before they got behind the wheel of a car or truck prior to causing a car accident, it is not as easy to ascertain when someone has gotten behind the wheel of a car that is tired or drowsy. The dangers of drowsy driving have recently been brought to light through the horrific accident suffered by actor and comedian Tracy Morgan and the death of one of the passengers in his limo van last month.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates conservatively that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities. But among all the major factors that cause or contribute to crashes, like speeding, alcohol use, and weather situations, drowsiness is the most difficult for police and other crash investigators to detect and quantify. The Huffington Post recently published a story outlining the dangers of drowsy driving and the likelihood someone who is sleep deprived will cause a car or truck accident. More alarming, is the study published in the journal of Archives of Internal Medicine that showed that there is not a difference between drowsy driving and drunk driving when it comes to the risks associating with causing a car accident. The Archives of Internal Medicine study found that whether someone had been drinking prior to operating a car or is sleep deprived, they are twice as likely to cause a car accident and injure someone. A AAA foundation poll conducted after the Archives of Internal Medicine published their study on drowsy driving, found that one in three people admit to driving drowsyin the last thirty days. The Center for Disease Control also published a report that found that 92, 000 drivers, or 1 in every 25 drivers admitted to dozing off behind the wheel of a car or truck. Safety organizations across Pennsylvania and State College have urged motorists to recognize the warning signs of drowsiness while they are behind the wheel of a car or truck. The warning signs include the sensation of your eye lids becoming heavy, the nodding of your head up and down, drifting in and out of lanes and missing exits.
Just like distracted driving, the tell tale signs of a car accident that has been caused by drowsy driving typically include the same factors as a drunk driving car accident, however, the person who caused the accident is not drunk. Car accidents that may have been the result of drowsy driving include, rear end car accidents where the light has been red for more than ten seconds, head on collisions whether the other vehicle has drifted into the lane of oncoming traffic, trucks that enter construction zones at a high rate of speed just before impact, car accidents involving pedestrians or objects on the side of the road. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident that may have been caused by drowsy driver, contact our law firm today to speak with a knowledgeable State College Car Accident Attorney.