Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that more than one-third of adults in this country are regularly sleep-deprived. Experts recommend that adults get at least seven hours of sleep every night. The reality is that many people don’t even come close to that amount.
Being sleep deprived can have a profound effect on a person’s concentration, coordination, and reaction time. When a sleep-deprived person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, their risks of being in a crash spikes dramatically. In fact, missing just one or two hours of sleep doubles our risk of being in a car accident.
Fatigued Driving and Fatal Crashes
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are at least 100,000 drowsy driving crashes each year. These crashes kill approximately 1,500 people and seriously injure more than 70,000. The NHTSA says these figures are very conservative and that the numbers are most likely much higher due to the difficulty of determining whether or not driver fatigue caused the crash. This is because one of the only ways to make that determination is by self-reporting of the driver. Many of those drivers do not make that admission. It is estimated that there are approximately one million crashes each year that are caused by driver lapses or inattention and a great many of those crashes are suspected drowsy driver crashes.
When a fatigued person gets into their car, they not only put themselves at risk, but they also put other commuters’ lives at risk. This also includes pedestrians and cyclists. The danger becomes even more significant when commercial truck drivers operate their vehicles when they are sleep-deprived, especially when you consider the massive size and weight the vehicles they operate are.
Despite federal regulations that mandate how many hours a truck driver is allowed to be on the road and how many hours of rest time and breaks they should have, there are still far too many commercial truck drivers who ignore these regulations and create hazardous risks. Drivers who are under pressure to meet extremely tight delivery schedules may skip breaks or stay on the road an extra hour or two. Many trucking companies have been caught falsifying the logbooks truck drivers are required to keep in order to hide the disobeying of the federal regulations.
Fatigued Driving Accidents and Lawsuits
A victim who is injured in a crash caused by a driver who fell asleep while driving or who was too tired to stay focused on the road can legally pursue damages for their losses. However, it may be difficult to prove that the driver was fatigued. This is why having a Virginia car accident attorney advocating for you can make all the difference in successfully obtaining the compensation they may be entitled to. An attorney will gather and examine evidence, interview witnesses, and may even consult with accident experts.
Once liability is established through the evidence, some of the losses that the victim can fight for include:
- Medical expenses (emergency room treatment, surgeries, hospital stays, rehabilitation, medication, medical devices, etc.)
- Loss of income and benefits during recovery
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Permanent disability
- Loss of future income and benefits
- Loss of life enjoyment
A Virginia personal injury attorney will be able to determine what type of losses the victim may be entitled to and how much those losses add up to.
Let a Virginia Car Accident Attorney Help
No matter how careful we are in our driving habits, there is always the risk that other drivers around us are not. If you have been injured in a drowsy driving crash, contact a Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal options you may have.
At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our legal team has been advocating for injured victims and their families for more than three decades in obtaining the financial compensation they deserved for the injuries they suffered. Contact our office today to set up a free case evaluation and to find out how we can help you.