Every driver knows the difficulties caused by driving while tired. Reaction times can slow, recognition of speed limits or upcoming exits can fade, and worst of all, drivers may have trouble keeping their eyes open, drifting between lanes as a result of fatigue. If you have plans to drive in New Jersey, it is important to understand the prevalence and consequences of drowsy driving and when you may need to engage with an experienced lawyer after being involved in an accident. The experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers at our firm can help you assert your rights and pursue compensation if you have been injured in a motor vehicle crash caused by a driver who was simply too tired to be on the road. Contact us today at 732-825-6120 or start a conversation online for more information and a free consultation about your case.
How Common is Drowsy Driving?
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently presented a study on drowsy driving that found 37% of drivers have reported falling asleep or nodding off while driving, and 11% of surveyed respondents said that they had experienced such driving during the past year. The Centers for Disease Control confirms this troubling statistic, noting that an estimated 1 out of 25 adult drivers report having fallen asleep while driving in the past thirty days. Unsurprisingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established that a significant percentage of fatal traffic collisions involve drowsy drivers. The AAA Foundation has placed this percentage at 16.5% in recent reports. Further, NHTSA reports that over 72,000 car crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013 were attributable to a drowsy driver. Traffic researchers have also noted that drowsy driving is likely underreported and underestimated in the US, including in New Jersey.
How to Recognize Driver Fatigue
The Centers for Disease Control has stated that you may be at risk of dangerously drowsy driving if you notice one or more of the following common symptoms. Prevalent symptoms of fatigued driving include:
- Frequent yawning or blinking
- Difficulty picturing or remembering the last few miles that you just drove
- Missing exits or turns
- Drifting within or across lanes
- Hitting a “rumble strip” on the side of the road; and
- Otherwise having difficulty keeping your eyes open or mind focused on the road.
If you have not gotten enough sleep, if you have worked an overnight shift, if you have sleep apnea or another type of sleep disorder, or if you are taking medication that may make you drowsy, you should watch carefully for these or similar symptoms. This is particularly true for drivers who are traveling long distances and for many hours at a time. In fact, driving while overtired is among the most dangerous forms of trucking negligence and is a leading cause of truck accidents.
When You Need an NJ Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyer
Drivers are required to take reasonable care to avoid injuring others while on the road. An individual can breach that duty if they get behind the wheel while too fatigued to drive in a reasonably safe manner. If another driver collides into your car or, even worse, strikes you while you were riding a bike or simply crossing the street as a pedestrian, and the person was driving drowsy, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim against them.
If the responding police officer at the scene documents any evidence or statements that a driver collided into you because they were driving drowsy, or further investigation by your legal team uncovers such evidence, your personal injury attorney can use this documentation to further your claim for damages against the other driver in court.
To consult an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer and learn more about bringing a claim against the drowsy driver responsible for your injuries, contact our firm today at 732-825-6120. We provide answers free of charge and will represent you at no cost unless we obtain a recovery.