The Dangers of Fatigued Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are about 100,000 automobile accidents a year caused by drivers who are fatigued or driving drowsy. This number already may seem high, but it is actually even higher since drowsy driving is often underreported and there is no test to determine whether a driver fell asleep at the wheel.
Currently, there are only a handful of states that have enacted laws related to drowsy driving. For example, states like New York and Arkansas have classified fatigued driving as a Class A Misdemeanor that is punishable by law. Although some states have set aside a month or a week to generate awareness about “Drowsy Driving Prevention,” there is an overall shortage in most other states like Wisconsin.
What is Fatigued Driving?
Although most of us are familiar with the term “falling asleep at the wheel,” there are other circumstances that can also be considered fatigued driving. Fatigued driving usually occurs when a driver is operating a vehicle while tired, sleepy, drowsy, or under exhaustion. There are no tests that can be administered to determine whether a car accident occurred because a driver was fatigued, however there are several clues that an investigator may look for. According to the NHTSA, the following characteristics of a car crash indicate that the driver may have been fatigued:
The car accident occurred late at night or early in the morning;
The driver was the only occupant of the vehicle;
The car accident was serious and resulted in severe or fatal injuries; or
The driver did not attempt to avoid the car accident.
Operating a vehicle while fatigued not only puts the driver at risk, but poses a threat to other unsuspecting vehicles on the road. The first step in reducing the likelihood of drowsy driving is prevention.
Keep Wisconsin Roads Safe: Do Not Drive Drowsy
Experts from neighboring Canada have begun to suggest that driving drowsy can be just as detrimental as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is because operating a vehicle while sleepy can result in lower reaction times, blurry vision, and poor judgment. In addition, it can cause decreased performance and a delay in processing information. The National Security Council urges drivers who are tired while driving to recognize certain signs of fatigue and to get off of the road. There are also other precautionary measures a driver can take to avoid a car accident such as making frequent stops during a long road trip and avoiding driving during the hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Contact a Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyer
Injuries sustained in a car accident caused by fatigued driving can be serious or even fatal. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident in the Appleton area and suspect that the driver fell asleep at the wheel, contact one of our experienced Appleton personal injury attorneys at Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. today.