Drowsy Driving Car Accident Attorneys
According to estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving is responsible for 100,000 car accidents every year, resulting in tens of thousands of injuries and hundreds or thousands of deaths. That’s the official recorded data, but estimates from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety put the numbers much higher. Accidents caused by drunk driving, texting while driving, or excessive speed might get all the attention, but drowsy driving is a serious problem that causes needless misery to injury victims hurt in a crash that could have been avoided.
The personal injury attorneys at Anderson & Anderson have decades of experience helping car accident injury victims recover compensation from negligent drivers. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident in Tampa, our team will get to work investigating the cause and gathering the evidence needed to secure a fair settlement or jury verdict that fully compensates you for the damage done by a negligent, drowsy driver. Call our office for a free consultation to discuss your claims.
How Big a Problem Is Drowsy Driving?
After a crash, how do you know the driver was drowsy unless they admit it? You can’t test a driver for drowsiness like you can test for blood alcohol, and you can’t check their smartphone to see if they were drowsy like you can check to see if they were texting and driving. To get at the problem, the AAA Foundation conducted a large-scale naturalistic study in which they videoed 3,500 drivers behind the wheel. If any of these drivers got in a crash, the researchers reviewed the three minutes of footage before the crash and measured the driver’s drowsiness according to how much of that time their eyes were closed. This measure had already been established in other research to indicate drowsiness, inattentiveness, or swerving out of one’s lane.
The data showed between 9 and 9.5% of drivers showed signs of drowsiness before the crash. In serious crashes that caused physical injury, major property damage or made the airbag deploy, drowsiness was noted between 10.6 and 10.8% of the time.
What Makes Drowsy Driving So Dangerous?
According to safety researchers, missing out on as little as two or three hours of sleep can increase one’s risk of getting into a crash four-fold, to the same extent as a person driving drunk. A driver doesn’t have to fall asleep at the wheel to cause a horrific crash. Drowsy drivers put themselves and others on the road at risk in a number of ways. Below are some of the main ways a lack of sleep can negatively impact drivers:
- It can impair their judgment, causing them to underreact, overreact, or make bad driving decisions.
- It can slow their reaction time
- It can decrease their hand-eye coordination
- It can limit their ability to focus their attention on the road
- It can reduce their ability to multi-task
What Are the Signs of Drowsy Driving?
If you see other drivers on the road exhibiting the following behaviors, give them space and call the Highway Patrol if it is safe for you to do so. If you notice these signs in yourself as a driver, pull over to a safe area and take a short nap, get a cup of coffee or cold juice, or switch driving tasks with another person in the car.
- Head bobbing
- Drifting out of the lane
- Failure to signal a turn or lane change
- Quick jerky movements or swerving
- Speeding up or slowing down inappropriately
- Trouble focusing
- Trouble remembering the last stretch of road you were on
These symptoms could be signs of drowsy driving due to lack of sleep or impairment by alcohol. In either case, they are negligent driving behaviors that pose a great danger to the driver and others on the road.
How Can You Prove Drowsy Driving Caused an Accident?
As noted earlier, you can’t test for drowsy driving, and the driver who caused the crash might not admit or even be aware they were drowsy or fatigued. Still, there can be many ways a skilled car accident attorney and their investigator can determine if drowsy driving was a factor in the crash. One could gather evidence regarding how long the driver had been on the road or how long they had been up before the accident, what their daily and weekly schedule is, etc. Physical evidence such as video footage or the lack of skid marks showing the driver never applied the brakes before the crash might be evidence of drowsy driving or being asleep at the wheel.
At Anderson & Anderson, we handle car accident cases every day, working with injury victims to get them the care and compensation they need while holding negligent drivers accountable for the harm they have caused. We know what it takes to prove liability in a car accident, and we are committed to seeing justice done.
Let Us Help After a Drowsy Driving Accident in Tampa
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident in Tampa, call Anderson & Anderson at 813-251-0072 for a free consultation with our dedicated team of attorneys and staff. We are ready to work directly with you to help you get the compensation you deserve after being harmed by another driver’s negligence.