You were injured in a car accident in Massachusetts, and you found that the other driver was drowsy. Unfortunately, drowsy driving crashes are not uncommon as many adults will fail to get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night. In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that there are 328,000 drowsy driving crashes every year in this country, 109,000 of which involve injuries and 6,400 of which are fatal.
Drowsiness causes inattentive driving
Lack of sleep triples the risk for a car crash. It impairs one’s ability to focus on driving and slows down one’s reaction times. Someone who goes without sleep for 20 hours straight will drive like a person with a blood alcohol concentration of .08, which is the legal limit for alcohol intoxication.
In serious cases of sleep deprivation, one will experience what’s called microsleep: four- to five-second bursts of inattention. Without knowing it, then, drivers on the freeway may travel the length of an entire football field while being virtually blind to their surroundings.
Drowsy driving interventions are possible
Though getting adequate sleep is the only real solution to drowsy driving, this doesn’t mean that others cannot try to intervene. Safety experts encourage parents to come up with a driving agreement with their teenage children and include a provision on drowsy driving. Universities should also have educational programs to promote healthier behavior. After all, roughly half of all crash initiators found to be drowsy are under 25.
Crash avoidance technology can help reduce drowsy driving, too, especially lane departure warning and drowsiness alert. In addition, better medication labels can improve matters. Experts suggest new labeling guidelines so that drivers know more clearly if they should take a certain medication or not.
Cases involving serious injuries
Many victims of motor vehicle crashes are understandably worried about their finances. If the driver who injured you was clearly drowsy or negligent in some other way, then you may have an easier time seeking compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. It may be wise to hire a lawyer for personalized advice and guidance.