Did Drowsy Driving Cause Your Car Accident?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a whopping one out of every 25 drivers over the age of 18 admits to having fallen asleep during the last 30 days when driving. It is estimated that drowsy driving results in 72,000 accidents, 44,000 injuries, and 800 fatalities each year. Clearly driving while drowsy is a problem.
Factors That Can Cause Drowsy Driving
If you are in an accident due to someone who was driving when drowsy, you will have to prove that he or she was incapacitated. Some of the risk factors for driving while drowsy include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Medication – There are a lot of medications that can result in drowsiness. These include antihistamines, antidepressants, cold medication, and pain pills, just to name a few. Most of these medications come with a warning to not drive when taking them, but if a person disregards this warning and drives anyway, he or she may be held liable if an accident results.
- Shift work – There are plenty of industries and jobs that require their employees to have unusual hours, or even work around the clock. Some of these jobs include firefighters, police officers, retail clerks, pilots, truckers, doctors, and nurses. Shift work can lead to a condition called shift work sleep disorder and can put the employees at risk for drowsy driving.
- Untreated sleep disorders – If a driver has a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy that has not been treated, he or she is at a higher risk than the average driver of causing a fatigue-related car accident. One of the symptoms of both of these disorders is excessive sleepiness during the day.
- Young age – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drivers under the age of 30 account for roughly two-thirds of all drowsy driving accidents, although they represent only one-fourth of all licensed drivers.
Proving Liability in a Drowsy Driving Accident
If you are involved in a car accident that you believe is due to drowsy driving, it is important that you call 911 and have police officers investigate the situation. They will determine if any laws were violated and make a determination as to who was at fault. Emergency medical personnel will also be able to identify the signs of pain medication use or other problems that may have contributed to fatigued driving.
If you are able to, be sure to take photographs of the scene of the accident, damage to the vehicle involved, and your injuries. Get the names and contact information of anyone that witnessed the accident and be sure to obtain the name, contact information, and insurance information of the other driver.
Contact an Experienced Washington Car Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a car accident, especially if it was an accident that was the fault of another driver that was driving while fatigued, contact the attorneys at Wattel & York, Attorneys at Law. We will investigate your accident, find out who may be held liable for your injuries and damages, and help you obtain the compensation that you are entitled to. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.