Drowsy driving was responsible for nearly 800 traffic fatalities and about 91,000 collisions across the U.S. in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The primary factors that can lead to drowsy driving include:
- Working overnight shifts or rotating shifts
- Driving for long periods of time (this is common with commercial truck drivers and business travelers)
- Not getting the recommended 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night
- Driving between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., and in the mid-to-late afternoon
- Taking sedatives
- Using recreational drugs or alcohol
- Having an undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorder
How do sleep disorders impact driving?
Drowsy driving is often linked to undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorders such as:
- Sleep apnea: This is a disruption to breathing patterns while asleep. There are generally three types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea — this occurs when the throat muscles become too relaxed.
- Central sleep apnea — this occurs when the brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles responsible for breathing.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome — this occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
- Insomnia: People with this condition often have a difficult time falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Restless leg syndrome: This conditions causes discomfort and the constant urge to move the legs while trying to sleep.
- Narcolepsy: People with this condition often fall asleep (many times uncontrollably) during the day time.
People who suffer from sleep disorders often aren't able to receive enough quality sleep or control their sleep patterns. This puts them at risk of dozing off behind the wheel during the daytime. Even a short microsleep (which lasts for only a few seconds) is enough to cause a catastrophe at full speed. That's why it's important that people with sleep disorders are properly diagnosed and treated for their conditions. In some cases, people with sleep disorders are prohibited from operating a car, and therefore should not be driving.
Aside from falling asleep at the wheel, drowsy driving can manifest in other ways, including:
- Poor concentration
- Inability to stay within the lines in the road
- Loss of memory
- Irritability and restlessness
- Frequent blinking and yawning
- Heavy eyelids
Can I be compensated for damages after a crash?
Drowsy driving crashes may not always be easy to prove. In many cases, drivers who cause crashes admit to driving while drowsy. Some drivers will not admit to this. That's why it's important that you speak to an experienced Connecticut car accident attorney who can launch an investigation and find out what happened.
Your attorney may find that the driver who hit you failed to get adequate sleep, spent too much time on the road, or suffered from an untreated sleep disorder. The lack of tire marks in the road at the crash scene can also indicate that the driver who hit you was asleep at the wheel or inattentive.
If you were hit by a drowsy driver, you may have sustained:
- A traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Crushed limbs
- Internal organ damage
Recovery isn't only lengthy and expensive, it can be emotionally devastating. That's why the Connecticut attorneys at The Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli are dedicated to helping crash victims get the justice and compensation they deserve.
Contact us online to get started on your claim. We offer free and confidential case evaluations to our clients.