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Study: Many Lane-Drifting Crashes Caused by Incapacitated Drivers

One of the most heart-jumping experiences that can happen to a driver is when you are driving down the road and suddenly the vehicle in another lane begins coming into your lane. If you’re lucky, either you’re able to maneuver your vehicle to avoid a collision or the other driver realizes what they are doing and pulls back into their own lane. The hope is that lane departure technology that is being installed in new vehicles will help decrease the number of lane drifting accidents by alerting drivers to pay attention to what they are doing. However, there is concern that this new technology will not help in a large percentage of the lane drifting collisions that occur because it is actually the physical condition the driver is in that is causing them to drive out of their own lane and not any activity taking place.

A recent study revealed that one of the most common reasons for lane drifting is that the driver is incapacitated. Either the driver is asleep, has suffered a medical emergency, or has passed out from alcohol and/or drug use.

For the study, researchers gathered data from 631 lane-drift accidents, which had occurred between 2005 to 2007, where one vehicle was towed from the crash and emergency medical responders were called.

The data revealed that a driver’s incapacitation accounted for 34 percent of the lane drifting collisions that took place. Seventeen percent of the drivers were sleeping, and the other 17 percent had either suffered some type of medical incident (such as a stroke or heart attack) or had blacked out from drugs or alcohol.

Out of the 631 accidents, 124 of the crashes resulted in either serious injuries or fatalities. Of those, the numbers of incapacitated drivers jumped to 42 percent, again divided evenly between sleeping drivers (21 percent) or suffering from a medical condition or blackout (21 percent).

If you have been injured in a crash caused by a drowsy, distracted, or incapacitated driver, contact a skilled North Carolina car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the driver for your pain and loss. Our NC personal injury law firm has successfully represented many victims of car crashes and understand how frustrating and intimidating it can be dealing with insurance companies when you are trying to recuperate and put your life back together after suffering a traumatic event of an auto accident.

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