New York Drowsy Driving Accidents
People underestimate the value of having a full and restful sleep at night to perform during the day properly. Who hasn't stayed awake with multiple cups of coffee? They do this to keep working on something they deem important. 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 hazard on the roads. 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?
An estimated 7.5 million drivers had nodded off while driving in the past month was the result of a Gallup poll. Doing that action for just a few seconds could lead to drifting toward nearby vehicles or oncoming traffic. This 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.
Staying focused and maintaining attention on the road is very difficult when you are fatigued by driving a long time. Reaction times can be delayed. This makes 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: It is recommended to get at least 8 hours of sleep each day. Just a couple of hours less can have an effect on your decision-making abilities and judgment. This can lead to poor choices when driving.
- Sleep disorders: Not getting enough rest can have a serious impact on 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 the quality, timing, and duration of sleep, 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: There are several prescription medications that can cause drowsiness as a side effect such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, antihistamines, and muscle relaxants. 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, if a drowsy driver is involved in an accident, they are still liable.
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 hard for someone without experience to recognize if a driver was drowsy when the accident occurred. There is currently no test that can confirm drowsiness, like a blood-alcohol or breathalyzer test.
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 No-fault insurance state for car accidents. This means victims' first compensation claim after an auto accident is their own personal injury protection coverage (PIP).
Suffering a serious 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. It is the duty of every driver to 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 be an indication of sleepiness or fatigue. If you notice yourself or another driver yawning or blinking excessively, it may be a sign of drowsiness. Pull over and have some rest for God's sake!
- Difficulty keeping eyes open and focused: If you are struggling to keep your eyes open or have difficulty maintaining 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 to not provoke an accident.
- Inconsistent speed: Have you noticed a driver that accelerates or slows down inadvertently? That's a hazard right there, you may want to get your distance of 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 safe and sound 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: Having company is important, 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 power nap for 15-20 minutes?
- 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 asking someone else to drive for you.
Drowsy Driving Among Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators
When it comes to difficult and risky jobs, commercial motor vehicle operators are at the top. 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 safely operate a CMV.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported statistics in 2020 for drivers of large trucks in fatal crashes. These crashes were related to distraction and impairment. Lost In Thought/Day Dreaming caused 4,777 accidents, Distraction/Inattention caused 14 accidents, and Distractive/Inattentive caused 138 accidents.
It is curious to know that most drowsy driving accidents occur at a specific time of day. 63.3% of the accidents in 2020 by large trucks were during the day and 36.7% at night.
Types of Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving can be caused by a variety of factors. 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 level of stress, can make them easily drowsy drivers.
There are also night-shift workers in different 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 a challenging situation for a non-experienced person regarding knowledge of the law. That is why a drowsy driving accident lawyer will be a great 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, PL, 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 that you are being represented by highly ethical professionals.
Call now for a free consultation of your case at 855-dolor-55 and one of our attorneys will answer you right away.