Driving while tired or sleep deprived is just as dangerous, if not more so, than driving while under the influence of alcohol. Dr. Nathaniel Watson of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine said recently in a statement: "Drowsiness is similar to alcohol in how it compromises driving ability by reducing alertness and attentiveness, delaying reaction times, and hindering decision making skills. Drowsy driving is deadly, but it's also completely avoidable." According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, one in five fatal accidents includes a drowsy driver.
Surprisingly, it is not just professional tractor-trailer truck drivers or shift-workers who are most likely to be involved in an accident due to sleep deprivation or drowsiness. In a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of Americans admit to driving while feeling sleepy and 37% admit to falling asleep at the wheel in the past year. Of the individuals polled who admitted to falling asleep at the wheel in the last year, 13% say they have done so at least once a month. Additionally, 4% of Americans polled - nearly 11 million drivers in the United States - admit they have had a car accident or near accident because they fell asleep or were too tired to drive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 crashes reported to the police each year are caused by driver fatigue. As a result, there are approximately 1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries each year caused by drowsy drivers.
An experienced Connecticut personal injury lawyer knows driving while drowsy puts the driver and others in significant danger. Symptoms of drowsy driving include, but are not limited to:
- Excessive yawning.
- Missing road signs or turns.
- Failing to stay in the lane of travel or hitting the rumble strip.
- Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, rubbing eyes or heavy eyelids.
- Restlessness and irritability.
- Trouble remembering the last few miles driving.
- Tailgating, driving slowly or speeding.
Under Connecticut law, a driver who operates a motor vehicle while drowsy is responsible for any injuries to a person hurt in an accident. This includes passengers in the drowsy driver's own vehicle. Additionally, an employer/business can be held liable for injuries to victims caused by employees who drive while drowsy.
If you or someone you love was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Connecticut and suspect the at-fault driver was sleep deprived or drowsy, you should contact an attorney immediately to discuss your options. The Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli has experience handling drowsy driving cases and can help you receive the full compensation you deserve. Contact us today at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 or visit www.salomoneandmorelli.com.