Drivers in Louisiana and across the U.S. will be aware that there are many dangers on the road, such as drivers under the influence, recklessness, negligence, being distracted and speeding. One issue that does not get as much attention as the others is drivers who get behind the wheel while they are drowsy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is keeping an eye on this problem and warning drivers about its risks.
It can be difficult to determine whether or not a car crash occurred because of a driver who was drowsy. However, when there is an investigation, law enforcement will look for signs during their crash reconstruction to look for certain clues that indicate that drowsiness led to an error behind the wheel. Researchers will use information such as reports that suggest drowsiness might have factored in to the statistics of accidents, as well as drivers openly saying that they were drowsy behind the wheel.
Approximately 2.6 percent of the 846 fatal accidents in 2014 were related to drowsy driving. In the past 10 years, these numbers have stayed relatively similar. From 2005 to 2009, there were approximately 83,000 accidents that were linked to drowsy driving. This averages out to 886 fatal accidents and around 37,000 crashes with injuries every year. As studies move forward, there is an attempt to correlate certain factors such as the gender, age, time of day and the kind of crash it was when trying to come to a conclusion as to these numbers. One study using this information suggests that 7 percent of all accidents and 16.5 percent of fatal accidents had drowsy driving as part of the cause. A Massachusetts study suggests that the numbers could be even higher, with up to 1.2 million accidents, 8,000 deaths and half-a-million injuries.
Drivers who are injured in a car crash or anyone who has lost a loved one in a crash caused by drowsy driving need to be aware of their legal rights. The numbers and anecdotal evidence suggest that this is a bigger issue than many people realize. With that in mind, those who have been affected should make certain that they understand their potential rights to pursue compensation after an auto accident.
Source: nhtsa.gov, "Research on Drowsy Driving --Scope of the Problem," accessed on May 31, 2016