Liability For Accidents Caused By Driver Fatigue
Most of us have, at some point in our lives, driven while feeling tired. Few are aware, however, how risky this can be, as drowsy driving often proves to be as dangerous as drunk driving if a motorist falls asleep at the wheel. Driving while drowsy is a form of negligence, which means that drivers who fall asleep at the wheel and cause accidents, can actually be held liable for resulting damages.
How Drowsiness Can Affect Your Driving Abilities
Fatigue can have a significant impact on a number of things that are critical to safe driving. Drivers who are drowsy, for instance, may struggle with their judgment and decision-making and could experience inhibited coordination and reaction time, which can result in:
- Drifting between lanes;
- Struggling to maintain the proper speed limit;
- Driving too closely to other vehicles;
- Swerving into oncoming traffic or veering off the road; and
- An inability to avoid obstacles.
These kinds of driver errors make it much more likely that a person will be involved in an accident, whether a collision with a fixed object, like a tree or building, or a collision with one or more other drivers.
Anyone who is tired or overworked is at risk of driving while fatigued. There are, however, certain individuals who are more likely than others to fall asleep and cause an accident, such as:
- Commercial drivers who spend a lot of time on the road and are often expected to meet strict deadlines, regardless of their level of fatigue;
- Shift workers and those who work odd hours or through the night;
- Those who don’t get enough sleep or who have poor sleeping habits;
- Individuals with undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorders; and
- Drivers who are taking certain medications for pain, anxiety, or insomnia.
Although dangerous, drowsy driving is preventable and motorists can take steps to manage their fatigue by sharing driving responsibilities, planning for multiple stops for food and rest, and avoiding taking medications that will make them drowsy.
All drivers are legally obligated to maintain control of their vehicles and to obey the traffic laws. A driver who fails to fulfill this obligation by falling asleep at the wheel and causing an accident, could be held liable if the injured party can provide evidence of the other driver’s fatigue. Evidence that could help establish that drowsy driving was a factor in an accident includes:
- Eyewitness testimony;
- Footage of the accident from security or traffic camera recordings;
- Medical records showing that a driver was taking a certain type of medication;
- A lack of skid marks at the scene of the crash, which can indicate a failure to hit the brakes or attempt to veer off the road;
- Cell phone records or data logs showing that a driver has traveled long distances and may have been sleep deprived at the time of the accident.
Call today to learn more about the kinds of evidence that could help prove negligence in your own accident case.
Reach Out to Our Florida Legal Team for Help
If you suspect that your own accident was the result of drowsy driving, don’t hesitate to call the dedicated Florida car accident lawyers at Boone & Boone for help filing a claim. We can be reached at 954-566-9919 or via online message.