A recent article published in the journal Sleep calls for more study and prevention of drowsy driving, noting that it is a significant hazard on the nation’s roads. The report was spearheaded by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). It calls for both more understanding of public perception of drowsy driving and development of public education and prevention methods, such as biomarkers for fatigue.
Drowsy driving causes accidents and fatalities
As the article indicates, there is currently no reliable method of testing for drowsy driving, as there is for, say, alcohol impairment. Estimates of the number of car crashes drowsy driving causes on the nation’s roads, as a result, are not definitive. Right now, drowsy driving is part of a police accident report (PAR) only when there is circumstantial evidence (such as a car being driven off a road at night) or a driver statement indicating drowsiness or fatigue.
Nonetheless, drowsy driving is known to cause a significant number of fatalities and accidents, all of which are entirely preventable.
In 2014, an estimated 846 fatalities were caused by accidents related to drowsy driving. This is roughly 2.6% of all traffic fatalities. From 2005 to 2009, the last years for which statistics are available, 85,000 vehicle crashes were caused by drowsy driving. Of these, 37,000 caused injury and 45,000 caused property damage.
The NHTSA report notes that many societal factors contribute, including the 24/7 work cycle caused by computers and smartphones, and a growing number of people holding two jobs.
Nonetheless, they believe that more education about the dangers, as well as targeted programs to understand the specific causes and potential treatment methods, such as fatigue prevention classes, will be able to decrease the number of drowsy driving accidents.
Drowsy driving in New York State
New York State’s law in cases of vehicle accidents is no-fault. This means that the insurance company of each party is responsible for paying for damages and medical bills, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
There are some exceptions in New York State. If you or a loved one has suffered significant disfigurement, bone fracture, a permanent limitation in body organ or limb use, a significant limitation in a body function or system, or endured substantially full disability for 90 days, you may be able to bring a claim for damages against the person responsible for the accident.
Do you need to consult an attorney about an accident?
Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are experienced in New York State accident law. If you or a loved one have been hurt or lost a life in a vehicle accident, we are here for you. We can shed light on how the state determines liability. We fight for your rights.
We will be happy to discuss your case in a complimentary private consultation. Call our offices today for a free consultation with an experienced NYC & Long Island car accident lawyer.
Additional drowsy driving accident resources
- Higgins, J. Stephen, et al. “Asleep at the Wheel – The Road to Addressing Drowsy Driving.” Sleep, Jan. 25, 2017. The Sleep Research Society. https://oup.silverchair-cdn.com/oup/backfile/Content_public/Journal/sleep/PAP/10.1093_sleep_zsx001/2/zsx001.pdf?Expires=1487956897&Signature=cuge6lTnsAVOUJ9JvD59vm8hChQ1xvoEcdKeu2Bwd~e~1zTQDokh5DzBXis77JkwU4YPsCST8fzLwc9LibAltbyfJv-CEaoosCNvJYZA~ocIX0-NFt2xjKOZwrahPk20EmaRK1Hz0DojsRIaxsNyKfwxcSnqXac93GLCP2Q-8FCeUNG4RK0~01Gns3ong1HspSeaVnnDsLQary2oKEeKab8~OtjVyN-bijCythk1KWkir7Wrp98dh-2IzLS4T53~O0W~QAdIi4J9I52g319USHTahC9wbgwYksrSw8hgf~abtsgrGQfr2qgUjFGKFNXHeh9c6pQH6CzEXnIy2QMeSg__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAIUCZBIA4LVPAVW3Q
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drowsy Driving: Asleep at the Wheel. https://www.cdc.gov/features/dsDrowsyDriving/index.html