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Can drowsy driving result in car accidents?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines an accident caused by drowsy driving as one which occurred because the driver of the vehicle was fatigued, actually asleep behind the wheel or drowsy when driving.

Though drowsy driving is a problem unto itself, it can be looked at as a form of distracted driving. Arizona residents are likely aware that distracted driving occurs when a driver takes their attention away from the primary task of driving and focuses on some other activity. This includes but is not limited to taking one's eyes off the road to text, picking up or reaching for something in the car, eating, talking on the phone, changing CDs or the radio station and even applying make-up. Arguably, falling asleep while driving is an activity that takes the driver's attention away from the primary task of driving.

According to the NHTSA, car accidents caused by drowsy drivers are underreported. Underreporting for drowsy driving accidents can be attributed to a driver's reluctance to admit they were tired, the driver being killed in the accident, lack of post-accident investigation or how police reported the accident. However, NHTSA estimates that drowsy driving can be implicated in over 83,000 motor vehicle accidents a year and results in over a thousand fatalities. Drowsy driving accidents can affect anyone and everyone, but there are certain subpopulations that are more likely to be impacted.

NHTSA research and data has found that shift workers are at high risk of driving while fatigued or drowsy. This is generally due to the fact that shift workers work odd hours, work long nights and have an irregular sleep pattern.

Though awareness campaigns surrounding this issue have been implemented, drowsy driving continues to result in accidents and cause injuries. If you are injured in a car accident by a drowsy driver, you may be able to receive compensation from the driver for your injuries. In a personal injury lawsuit, you may claim damages for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. If you have questions regarding whether you have a personal injury claim, you may wish to contact an attorney.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Research on Drowsy Driving," Accessed April 20, 2015

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Law Office of Keith A. Hammond, P.C.

Keith A. Hammond, P.C. Attorney at Law
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