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Accidents and Injuries Caused by Drowsy Driving


Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer

A few years ago, comedians Tracy Morgan and James McNair were both involved in a serious, high profile car accident involving fatalities and a multi-million dollar settlement. Tracy Morgan suffered severe injuries as a result of the collision and James McNair was killed. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause for this 2014 accident was driver fatigue. The two comedians were struck by a Walmart truck driver who had been awake for over 28 hours when the crash occurred.

While this particular incident received notoriety due to the popularity of the victims in question, drowsy driving is nevertheless a serious and widespread problem. To further complicate things, it also can be a real challenge to determine whether driver fatigue is indeed responsible in the majority of these cases, as there is no such thing as a drowsiness test to determine how tired a person really is.

Drowsy driving is exactly what it sounds like–it’s a highly dangerous blend of driving while sleepy or fatigued. The primary reason for drowsy driving is of course lack of sleep. But there are other reasons as well. According to a recent report by the AAA, a drivers who sleeps for only five to six hours doubles their risk of being involved in a serious car crash, in comparison to someone who has enjoyed seven hours of sleep or more.

Crash rates only increase with the less sleep a person gets. To further illustrate the real dangers of sleep deprivation, consider this: drivers who sleep for only four to five hours have the same risk of being involved in a collision as a drunk driver.

Accidents and Injuries Caused by Drowsy Drivers

Sleep is a mysterious thing. It comes and goes, and no one knows exactly when it will overtake you. It goes without saying that driving while drowsy will severely affect your ability to drive, even if you do manage to keep your eyes open. Drowsiness will:

  • Diminish a driver’s ability to make wise choices.
  • Impair reaction times.
  • Reduce a driver’s focus and attention to the road.

Drowsy driving occurs more often than it should. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, driver fatigue was responsible for 21% of all motor vehicle crashes which resulted in fatalities. One third of crashes involving a drowsy driver also resulted in serious injuries. To put things into more quantifiable numbers, drowsy driving is an influential factor in approximately 328,000 crashes a year. A third of those crashes resulted in injuries, and 6,400 were fatal collisions.

For many nebulous reasons, the effects of drowsy driving are very challenging to quantify. It’s believed that statistics alone won’t ever tell the entire story of how relevant fatigue is in collisions that involve drowsy drivers. As previously mentioned, there is no  test to measure drowsiness or fatigue. It’s really up to the driver in question to confess that he or she fell asleep, and that won’t happen very often. Yet there is ample evidence to strongly suggest that the problem is more common than previously thought.

Recent surveys conducted on behalf of the CDC show that 4.2% of people surveyed openly admitted to falling asleep at least once behind the wheel in a recent thirty day period. The Gallup Organization also surveyed 4,000 drivers in the U.S, and results showed that 37% reported falling asleep at least once. The study also showed that males were twice as likely as their female counterparts to drive while drowsy.

There are several commonalities in the majority of all drowsy driving cases.

There are many reasons why a person would choose to drive while fatigued. For the most part, these crashes involve people who are working long hours or have sleep related health issues. According to an NHTSA report, car accidents caused by drowsy driving tend to have the following characteristics:

  • Vehicle veers off the road or highway.
  • A drowsy and/or fatigued driver does little to nothing to avoid the collision.
  • High speeds are often involved.
  • There is significant property loss and serious injuries.
  • Crashes generally occur late night, early in the morning, or mid afternoon.

Are You Too Tired to Drive Safely?

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, here are a few common signs of driving while fatigued:

  • Veering out of your lane.
  • Dozing off, constant yawning, and difficulty keeping one’s head up.
  • Missing road signs or turns.
  • Difficulty in keeping a steady speed.
  • Difficulty in keeping eyes open.

Contact us to find out how we can help

Car crashes as a result of a drowsy driver can be horrific, especially from a medical and financial perspective. These crashes often result in tragic and life changing injuries and/or death. Medical care associated with treating these types of injuries can be very costly. This is especially true if the injured individual isn’t able to return to work for a long period of time, if ever. Victims and their families need to be represented by a skilled car accident lawyer who will fight to get them the full compensation they deserve and need.

If you have sustained injuries as a result of a drowsy driver, you have the right to hold that driver responsible. An attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at 213 927 3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.



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