We’ve all heard about the dangers associated with getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or while texting on our mobile phones. However, intoxication and distraction are not universal actions. Rather, another behavior to which all of us are susceptible has become a leading cause of traffic accidents: driving while tired. Being drowsy affects many skills that are crucial to safe operation of a motor vehicle, such as alertness, ability to pay attention, reaction time, judgment, and decision-making. The chance of crashing increases when these abilities are compromised, especially head-on or at high speeds because a fatigued driver is less likely to swerve or brake.
KY sleepy driver accident lawyer Billy Johnson believes that those who cause harm to others should be held accountable for their actions. This includes paying compensation to accident victims for medical expenses, lost wages, property loss, pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal accident, wrongful death. Based in Pikeville, Billy has made it his life’s work to help people throughout Kentucky. He is a proven advocate with over 15 years of experience who has handled litigation in the United States Court of Appeals, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, and the United States Bankruptcy Court.
According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowsy driving contributes each year to as many as one-quarter of the fatal motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. That’s equivalent to around 7,500 wrecks. Of the 92,102 people who participated in the study, one out of every 25 drivers admitted that they fell asleep while driving at least once during the previous 30 days. The study revealed that fatigued driving was higher among males under 25 years old, binge drinkers, and drivers who did not consistently wear their seatbelts. As if these numbers weren’t alarming enough, the prevailing thought is that sleepiness in accidents is statistically underrepresented because, unlike alcohol or drugs, there is no test that can be administered to determine whether driver fatigue was a factor in a wreck.
There is no substitute for the benefits conferred by sleeping at least seven hours every night, but a few ways to prevent becoming a drowsy driver yourself include:
- Getting enough rest as often as possible and especially before a long trip.
- Not drinking alcohol before driving.
- If possible, avoid medications that list drowsiness as a side effect.
- Try to avoid driving during the peak sleepiness periods (midnight – 6 a.m. and late afternoon).
- Taking rest breaks when driving on long trips.
- Consulting your doctor if you frequently suffer from daytime sleepiness, difficulty sleeping or loud snoring.
If you start to get sleepy while you’re driving, consume the equivalent of two cups of coffee and pull over for a 20-minute nap. However, this only increases alertness for a short period of time.
Getting enough sleep is an important matter of public health. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that being awake for 18 hours (leaving only six hours for sleep) is similar to having a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08 – the same amount as being legally drunk. The CDC estimates that adults typically need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, but more than one-third of adults get less. Some suffer from sleep disorders, including insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or narcolepsy. Drivers with undiagnosed/untreated sleep problems, commercial drivers, people who work at night or long shifts, and drivers who use sedatives are all at increased risks for drowsy driving.
If you or someone you love has been injured by someone who chose to drive while sleepy, you need an experienced attorney to effectively represent your interests. At the Johnson Law Firm, our Pikeville personal injury lawyers handle sleep-deprived wreck cases in Eastern Kentucky and statewide. Our founder, Billy Johnson, has been named a Super Lawyer by U.S. News & World Report as well as an American Trial Lawyers Association Top 100 trial lawyer, and he is a proud member of the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums. It’s important to contact us as soon as possible after you are injured in an accident, because any delay can cause critical evidence to be lost and make it harder to prove fault. You need your own investigative team working to secure the evidence needed to prove your claim. To get our team started immediately on your behalf, contact us today by filling out this evaluation form or calling us at 606-433-0682.