Drowsy Drivers Pose a Serious Danger in Florida
Many Floridians are injured in car accidents caused by drowsy or sleepy drivers. Exhausted drivers pose a great risk to other drivers and pedestrians when they are on the road. A 2014 AAA study reveals that more than a third of drivers report having fallen asleep while driving during their life. This dangerous behavior has an impact on road safety. The same AAA study revealed that drowsy drivers drift in and out of their lanes and cause nearly 21 percent of fatal car crashes. Oftentimes, the drivers are the crash victims who die in single-car crashes. Driving while fatigued is as dangerous as driving drunk. Even slightly sleepy drivers can have a performance-impairing increase in reaction time that will prevent a driver from stopping in time to avoid an accident. Additionally, sleepiness makes it harder for drivers to pay attention while driving and slows their ability to process information, such as the requirement to stop when they see the brake lights of a car ahead.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013, drowsy drivers caused “72,000 crashes, 800 fatalities and 44,000 injuries.” Drowsy drivers are likely to be:
- Truck drivers or other commercial drivers;
- Drivers who work night shift or long shifts;
- Drivers with undiagnosed sleep disorders (eg. sleep apnea);
- Drivers who use over-the-counter sleep aides;
- Drivers who did not sleep enough;
- Young male drivers ages 16 through; or
- Jet-lagged travelers.
Is Drowsy Driving Negligence?
Under Florida negligence statutes, a drowsy driver may be considered negligent if the driver was sleep-deprived and aware of the drowsiness before getting behind the wheel may. This is because drivers have a legal duty to be careful and not to endanger other drivers or pedestrians. Driving while fatigued may be considered a breach of that duty. A court may interpret a drowsy driver’s decision to drive while fatigued as a failure to use reasonable care and find that driver negligent. This is particularly true if a court believes that another reasonable driver would not have made the same decision in similar circumstances.
Pursuing a personal injury claim against a drowsy driver can be complex. Unlike drunk driving cases, it is hard for police officers or others investigating the accident to know if someone was too tired to drive. This means that drowsy driving cases can be difficult to prove without extensive investigation into the facts of the case.
Contact a Lawyer
AAA reports that 96 percent of drivers know that driving if you cannot keep your eyes open is dangerous. Unfortunately, many people still drive when they are drowsy, or tired, and cause serious accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured by a drowsy driver, then you need to speak with the Miami personal injury attorneys at the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. to discuss the facts of your case. We can discuss the facts of your accident with you and help you determine whether to pursue a personal injury cases against a drowsy driver. Please contact us today at 866-936-9761 to schedule an appointment.