While it may prove challenging to attribute a serious or even fatal motor vehicle accident to drowsy driving, it is estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that roughly 2.5 percent of all deadly crashes and 2 percent of severe personal injuries involve fatigued motorists. The National Sleep Foundation further attributes 1,550 deaths each year in the U.S. to drowsy drivers – highlighting the inherent dangers of this growing problem. To put these numbers in perspective, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that drowsy driving is to blame for some 100,000 traffic accidents every year, which harm an estimated 71,000 adults and children.
Maine car accident lawyers at Hardy, Wolf and Downing understand the despair and frustration felt by innocent victims of this nationwide epidemic. Representing injured residents of Portland, Lewiston & Southern and Central Maine, our attorneys have the skill, resources and legal expertise to investigate the circumstances of your case and quickly determine if you have a viable claim for monetary damages.
Medical experts warn that driving while sleep deprived is a lethal combination. Just as drugs and alcohol can impair judgment and slow reaction time, drowsiness also takes its toll on attention and can significantly boost the odds of having a car accident.
NBC correspondent reveals dangers of drowsy driving
Jeff Rossen — an NBC investigative correspondent — decided to demonstrate the dangers of drowsy driving in a real-world experiment on an obstacle course. The track had traffic cones that represented collisions with other vehicles and objects and was filled with sharp turns that required quick reflexes. In his first try, Rossen was well rested when he drive the course, and made it through without any problems.
Then, to illustrate the impact of sleep deprivation, Rossen kept himself awake for 30 consecutive hours before he tested the obstacle course a second time. “Actually, I feel fine. I feel like this is the kind of situation that a lot of people drive in. Maybe I could too,” said Rossen just before he got behind the wheel. During his second attempt, Rossen failed the course miserably, knocking over several traffic cones. Dr. Charles Czeisler, a sleep authority at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, analyzed video of both tests. “He’s certainly impaired and is struggling to stay awake, and at any moment could lose that struggle,” he noted after watching Rossen’s second attempt.
The sleep authority further warned that when excessively tired, parts of the brain can actually be asleep while others are awake. The result: split-second judgments are slower than normal, and reaction time is impaired. Doctors caution that just one night of missed sleep is the equivalent of being legally drunk.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control says the following are more likely to drive drowsy:
- Drivers of commercial trucks
- Shift workers
- Those who suffer from sleep apnea or untreated sleep disorders
- Drivers who are taking sedative medications
Free consult with Maine drowsy driving accident lawyers
If you or someone you love was injured in a drowsy driving incident and you need the advice of a competent Maine accident attorney, please call Hardy, Wolf and Downing for a free consultation. Our team is adept at holding negligent drivers – whether impaired by sleep deprivation, alcohol intake or just plain carelessness – accountable for the injuries they cause.
A car accident lawsuit can help you recover financial losses associated with property damage, time off work, medical costs, and pain and suffering. Call us at 1-800-INJURED today.