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New York Drowsy Driving Accidents

People underestimate the value of having a full and restful sleep at night to perform correctly during the day. Who hasn't stayed awake with multiple cups of coffee? They do this to keep working on something they deem necessary. Ironically, they put themselves and others in danger when they go out and drive their vehicles.

Drowsy driving statistics show us the alarming reality of this road hazard. According to statistics from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR), "fatigue/drowsy driving" or "driver fell asleep" were factors in 2,337 fatal and personal injury police-reported crashes statewide in 2017.

How Dangerous is Drowsy Driving?

According to a Gallup poll, an estimated 7.5 million drivers had nodded off while driving in the past month. Doing that action for a few seconds could lead to drifting toward nearby vehicles or oncoming traffic, which could cause devastating drowsy driving accidents.

Drowsy driving is almost as dangerous as driving, with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent. This is the legal limit for driving in New York. However, this level of dizziness can be such an important factor whether someone lives or dies on the road.

Decreased alertness

Staying focused and maintaining attention on the road is very difficult when you are tired from driving for a long time. Reaction times can be delayed, making it difficult for drivers to react quickly to potential hazards on the road. These hazards can include oil spots, curves, and other cars.

  • Impaired judgment: You should get at least 8 hours of sleep daily. A few hours less can affect your decision-making abilities and judgment, leading to poor driving choices.
  • Sleep disorders: Not getting enough rest can seriously impact your health. If you don't sleep for 8 hours a day and also have a demanding job, you could develop a sleep disorder. This disorder can affect sleep quality, timing, and duration, making it harder to get a good night's sleep. Some of the most common sleep disorders are insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), and Circadian Rhythm Disorders.
  • Prescription meds side effects: Several prescription medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, antihistamines, and muscle relaxants, can cause drowsiness as a side effect. Take caution when taking this medicine. Driving a vehicle could put your life and the lives of others at risk.

New York State Drowsy Driving Laws

There is no law against drowsy driving in New York. However, they are still liable if a fatigued driver is involved in an accident.

It's not a crime, but negligence in a personal injury case. The tortfeasor is aware of the dangers and has the opportunity to pull over and rest. Yet, they continue on the road.

It can be challenging for someone without experience to recognize if a driver was drowsy when the accident occurred. No test, like a blood-alcohol or breathalyzer test, can confirm drowsiness.

An experienced drowsy driving accident lawyer can help you. They can gather all the potential pieces of evidence. This will create a strong case in your favor. You will be able to get the fair compensation that you deserve.

New York is a state with no-fault insurance for car accidents. Victims' first compensation claim after an auto accident is their injury protection coverage (PIP).

Suffering a severe injury can leave you with insufficient PIP coverage. However, you have other options. A drowsy driving accident lawyer can help you obtain the right compensation while you recover.

Signs of Drowsy Driving on the Road

Detecting signs of drowsy driving is crucial for promoting road safety. Every driver must be aware of these signs. That way, when they encounter a situation, they know the risks and can make the right decision, which could save lives.

  • Frequent yawning or blinking: This can indicate sleepiness or fatigue. It may be a sign of drowsiness if you notice yourself or another driver yawning or blinking excessively. Pull over and have some rest, for God's sake!
  • Difficulty keeping eyes open and focused: If you struggle to keep your eyes open or focus on the road, your vision gets blurry, or you can't keep your gaze steady. Well, that's another sign for bedtime.
  • Drifting or weaving within lanes: This is a warning sign! You may have moved your car to a different lane without realizing it. You just nodded off and had luck enough not to provoke an accident.
  • Inconsistent speed: Have you noticed a driver who accelerates or slows down inadvertently? That's a hazard, so you may want to keep your distance from that vehicle.
  • Difficulty remembering the last few miles driven: There is a link between fatigue and short-term memory issues, so yes, pull over and grab your pillow now.
  • Feeling restless or irritable: We have all felt the stress of a hard day at work. Trying to get home, we can't help but feel angry and tired. Everything seems to bother us.

Tips to Avoid Drowsy Driving

The goal is for you to reach your destination safely and soundly without any issues. It is ideal to get a good night's rest before driving. However, there are other tips you can use to prevent drowsy driving.

  • Do not eat heavy foods or large meals before driving. Do not go running soon after eating. Eating can make you feel drowsy, like swimming after eating can cause cramps. Wait a few hours before running again.
  • Do not drive during your body's natural sleep hours: Are you the one who sleeps during the day and works at night? If so, you should drive only at night, as this is the pattern you are used to. Doing something else when you should be sleeping could get you in trouble.
  • Get a co-pilot with you: Company is essential, especially on long trips. You may need someone to share the driving duties. Additionally, you can put on your favorite music.
  • Plan for breaks: Come on! You are not a robot. Stop at a gas station every two hours. Get a cup of coffee or some chips. Or why not take a 15- 20-minute power nap?
  • Avoid alcohol and medicine: If you are going to have a long trip but want to drink some beers or you are under prescription meds, you should take alternatives, take a plane or train, or ask someone else to drive for you.

Drowsy Driving Among Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators

Commercial motor vehicle operators are at the top when it comes to complex and risky jobs. Long hours on the road and high mileage are part of the job for many drivers. This increases the chances of drowsy driver accidents.

Driving a CMV requires more knowledge, experience, skills, and physical abilities than driving a non-commercial vehicle. This higher level of qualifications is necessary to operate a CMV safely.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported statistics 2020 for drivers of large trucks in fatal crashes. These crashes were related to distraction and impairment. Lost In Thought/Daydreaming caused 4,777 accidents, Distraction/Inattention caused 14 accidents, and Distraction/Inattentive caused 138 accidents.

It is curious to know that most drowsy driving accidents occur at a specific time of day. In 2020, 63.3% of the accidents caused by large trucks were during the day and 36.7% at night.

Types of Drowsy Driving

A variety of factors can cause drowsy driving. Sleep disorders, lack of sleep, prescription medication, alcohol, and drug impairments can all contribute. Additionally, driving for extended periods can lead to drowsiness.

It is also good to mention that some people are more propensity to drowsy drive due to their professions. We already mentioned large truck drivers as prone to drowsy driving. However, they are not the only ones.

Healthcare workers and emergency service personnel such as doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, and paramedics often work extended shifts. This, combined with a high-stress level, can make them easily drowsy drivers.

Night-shift workers are also found in industries like transportation, manufacturing, and hospitality. Pilots and flight crew often face irregular work schedules, time zone changes, and long flights. These factors can disrupt their circadian rhythm and sleep patterns. It is fair to mention this.

Proving Fault in a Drowsy Driving Accident

Proving negligence in drowsy driving accidents may be challenging for a non-experienced person with limited knowledge of the law. That is why a drowsy driving accident lawyer will significantly help in these cases.

The evidence often used in such cases would be:

  • Police accident reports
  • Photos and videos from the crash scene
  • Witnesses' testimonial
  • Accident reconstruction engineers' Opinion
  • The driver's cell phone and GPS records can provide indications of their duration on the road.
  • The driver's work schedule can potentially reveal whether they had insufficient sleep.
  • The driver's medical history and medication records

Contact an NYC Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyer for Help

Our New York City drowsy driving accident lawyers have over 25 years of experience. They can guide you through the process of claiming compensation for your losses. This compensation should be both significant and fair.

At The Ward Law Group, we prioritize personalized service. We dedicate ourselves to getting to know every aspect of your case, even in your preferred language. This way, you can feel safe being represented by highly ethical professionals.

Call 855-DOLOR-55 now for a free consultation on your case, and one of our attorneys will answer you right away.