Drowsy driving results in Temple University student's death | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

A Temple University student, who was also the co-captain of the university’s Bhangra dance team, lost her life in a car accident over the weekend when she was ejected from the backseat of a van. 

Kammini Rajoopath, 21, and her dance team were headed to a competition in Durham, N.C.  Fellow dancer Bilal Badruddin, 20, was driving. The accident occurred on I-85 in Dinwiddie County, Va. shortly after 2 a.m. when, according to news reports, a drowsy Badruddin drove off the road and hit a guardrail.  When Badruddin tried to regain control of the vehicle, he hit another guardrail, per the news reports.  

Fatima Pervaiz, 20, who was also in the backseat of the van, was ejected from the van with Rajoopath. Pervaiz was taken to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Hospital with serious injuries. Rajoopath died instantly.  Officials reported that both Pervaiz and Rajoopath may not wearing have been wearing seat belts.  The six other occupants had minor injuries. 

Our heartfelt thoughts and condolences go out to the victim and her family and friends. Nothing can be said to soften the impact of losing a young life to such a terrible tragedy.  Rajoopath’s death could have been prevented, had a tired driver not been at the wheel.

Drowsy driving is a form of distracted driving and is far too common. A recent poll, Sleep in America, found that 60 percent of adult drivers have driven while tired.  The poll also showed that 37 percent of drivers even fell asleep at the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that drowsy driving causes 100,000 accidents each year.  The result of these accidents are approximately 1,550 deaths and 40,000 injuries.

Under every state’s negligence law including Virginia’s (Va), passengers of a car have injury or loss of life/death claims against any careless driver, whether driving the car or van they occupy, or whether driven by a different car’s driver.  Our firm has even handled injury or death claims between family members and husband and wife.  This “distasteful” family, relative or friend type claim may be the only way to recover medical bills, loss of wages, and for permanent injuries or even worse, if someone is killed, to recover for the loss of life//death compensation.

Driving drowsy puts not only you, but your passengers and fellow drivers at risk. If you ever find yourself feeling tired when driving, try to find a safe place, such as a rest stop, to pull over and rest until you are ready to drive again.  Once you even feel the possibility of drowsiness you must act and not press on.