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Drowsy and Fatigued Driving Accidents

Florida Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyers

WHAT IS DROWSY DRIVING?

Did you know that driving while fatigued could be equally as dangerous if not more so than drunk driving?  In fact, fatigued driving, also commonly known as drowsy driving, can impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle similar to how driving while intoxicated substantially impairs an intoxicated driver’s ability to drive safely. Being awake for 24 hours is similar to having a blood alcohol content well above the legal limit to be able to safely operate a motor vehicle. If you were injured in an accident by a drowsy driver, contact a personal injury attorney at Searcy Denney today for a free case evaluation.

What to Do if You Suspect the Other Driver Fell Asleep Behind the Wheel

Drowsy driving is dangerous. Driving while drowsy or extremely fatigued is a dangerous behavior that can cause serious injuries to other drivers on Florida roadways. In fact, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, the number of fatalities in crashes involving drowsy drivers was 633 or 1.6 percent of total fatalities in 2020.  

Additionally, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 20 percent of all fatal auto accidents in the United States involve a driver who was either drowsy or asleep behind the wheel. Additionally, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that “drivers who sleep only five or six hours in a 24-hour period are twice as likely to crash as drivers who get seven hours of sleep or more . . . [and] drivers [who get] only four or five hours of shut-eye [have] four times the crash rate — close to what’s seen among drunken drivers.”

Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 25 drivers surveyed in a study reported that they fell asleep behind the wheel in the past 30 days. 

With these statistics in mind, if you have been involved in an accident and believe that the other driver may have been driving while tired, you may be right. Drowsy driving accidents are extremely common. However, there is no excuse for getting behind the wheel (or continuing to drive) without adequate rest, and drowsy drivers can be held liable when they cause serious and fatal collisions. Let a car accident lawyer at our Florida law firm help you pursue compensation.

How to Recognize Signs of Driver Fatigue 

If drowsy driving is diagnosed and caught early enough, lives may be saved.  Whether you are the driver behind the wheel, a passenger in a motor vehicle, or are observing other drivers on the roadway, there are some common signs to watch out for that may indicate a driver may be experiencing fatigue while behind the wheel.  These signs may include but are not limited to: 

  • Repeatedly hitting a rubble strip while driving
  • Frequent yawning and blinking while
  • Wondering from lane to lane in an unsafe manner
  • Brain fogginess and disconnected thoughts

If you notice that you are experiencing these symptoms while driving, you are encouraged to pull the car over or, if you are a passenger and notice the driver of your car is experiencing these symptoms, ask that the driver pull the car over to a safe resting location. This will give you an opportunity to either rest, switch drivers, or make other alternative transportation arrangements to ensure the safety of all on the roadway.

How to Prevent Drowsy Driving

With proper preparation and planning, drowsy driving may be prevented altogether. When planning a long road trip, or traveling at night time, be sure to get adequate rest before driving. Other additional items to consider before getting behind the wheel to prevent drowsy driving include but are not limited to:

  • Checking the warning label on your medications for indications that the medication may cause drowsiness. Never drive when impaired by medication or other substances.
  • For long road trips, be sure to plan appropriately for adequate breaks. 
  • If possible, when multiple drivers are in the car, plan to alternate drivers when needed to ensure there is always a fresh driver behind the wheel.
  • Be alert for early warning signs of drowsiness and pull over to a safe place to rest before continuing to drive when you first notice signs of fatigue.
  • If you have been up for 24 hours or more, it is not safe for you to drive. Be sure to get adequate rest before you travel.

Driver fell asleep while driving

Understanding the Effects of Drowsy Driving in Florida

Fatigue directly affects the body’s ability to function. This includes effects on both our physical capabilities and our mental awareness—and, when it comes to driving, both of these factors are extremely important.

When someone is exhausted, his or her ability to drive safely can be significantly impaired. For example, some of the direct effects of drowsiness include:

  • Impaired judgment
  • Inability to process sudden events and emergencies
  • Increased reaction time
  • Limited physical mobility
  • Falling asleep behind the wheel

Proving That the Other Driver was Asleep Behind the Wheel

If you have been injured in an auto accident, how do you prove that the other driver was drowsy or asleep? While proving drowsiness can be challenging, many types of evidence may be available in your case. For example, types of evidence that can be used to prove drowsy driving include:

  • Statements made to witnesses at the scene of the crash
  • Information recorded in the police report
  • The other driver’s statements on social media
  • The other driver’s testimony obtained during a deposition or at trial
  • The other driver’s employment records (i.e., if he or she had just gotten off of a long late-night shift)

Additionally, various other aspects of the accident may point to drowsiness as a causal factor as well. For example, if the other driver drifted out of his or her lane, or if he or she blew through a stop sign, these could both potentially point to the driver being fatigued or asleep behind the wheel. Furthermore, even if it is not possible to prove why the other driver made a mistake (i.e., that he or she was drowsy), merely demonstrating that he or she made a mistake may be enough to secure the financial compensation you deserve.

Discuss Your Case with a Florida Auto Accident Lawyer at Searcy Denney

Were you injured in an auto accident, and do you suspect that the other driver may have been drowsy or asleep behind the wheel? To get the help you need to recover the financial compensation you deserve, call us at 800-780-8607 or request a free consultation online now.

Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

"The attorneys and staff at Searcy Denney are some of the most compassionate and caring individuals I have met in the legal field. They work tirelessly on behalf of their clients to ensure the best possible outcome. I would highly recommend them for anyone who is seeking excellent legal representation."
Posted By: Lauren Schumacher