It's often brushed off as no big deal, but drowsy driving can have life-altering consequences. If you've been injured by a drowsy driver, hiring a skilled attorney to advocate for your needs is the best way to protect your right to compensation.
Drowsy Driving Is a Public Health Crisis
In today's fast-paced world, people simply aren't getting the sleep they need. That means drowsy driving has become commonplace. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 60 percent of adult drivers have driven while drowsy at least once in the past year, with over one-third saying they have actually fallen asleep at the wheel and 13 percent admitting to falling asleep at the wheel more than once per month.
A breathalyzer can easily determine if a driver is intoxicated, but there's no simple way to see if someone is too drowsy to be driving. However, it's estimated that 100,000 crashes are the result of driver fatigue each year—contributing to 1,550 deaths, 71,000 personal injuries, and $12.5 billion in healthcare expenses, property damage, and other monetary losses.
Drowsy driving occurs among people of all ages, although young people ages 18 to 29 appear to be more prone to driving while drowsy than other groups. Shift workers and parents of young children also struggle with drowsy driving at higher than average rates. People with sleep disorders such as untreated sleep apnea and chronic insomnia or those who take medication that causes fatigue struggle with drowsy driving, as well.
It's been well established that drowsy driving creates the same level of impairment as driving after you've had too much to drink. After 24 hours with no sleep, a drowsy driver shows impairment equal to a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .10. A BAC of .08 is considered legally intoxicated, so driving while drowsy is actually more dangerous.
It does not matter if a drowsy driver tries to stay awake by drinking coffee, listening to loud music, rolling down the windows, or cranking up the air conditioning. These temporary fixes can provide a false feeling of security, but only sleep will fully restore a driver's reasoning ability and reaction time.
Some of the mistakes drowsy drivers can make include:
- Running a red light
- Driving the wrong way
- Swerving into the wrong lane
- Driving on the shoulder of the road
- Not using turn signals
- Not seeing obstacles in the road
- Driving too slow or too fast for road conditions
- Braking erratically
Any one of these errors can result in a collision, especially if the drowsy driver is traveling on a busy road. It only takes a second or two of not paying full attention to cause a devastating accident.
Seeking Compensation for Drowsy Driving Injuries
If you've been injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Louisiana law requires at-fault drivers to reimburse you for the losses you've suffered as the result of their negligence. This includes:
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
You are still eligible to collect damages even if you're determined to be partially at fault for the accident, although your ability to collect will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Protecting Your Legal Rights
When you choose Neblett, Beard & Arsenault to advocate for your needs, you can be confident that you'll have an experienced professional by your side throughout every step of the settlement process. We'll work hard to get you the compensation you need to move forward with your life. Contact us for a free, no-obligation case review today. We have six convenient office locations in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Monroe, Lake Charles, Shreveport, and Lafayette.