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One of the most dangerous issues on the roadways is drowsy driving. Drowsy driving means operating a motor vehicle while sleepy or fatigued. While medication could be a factor, often drowsy driving is usually a result of insufficient sleep. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that, in 2013, nearly 72,000 collisions were caused by drowsy driving. Of those collisions, there were 44,000 injuries and 800 fatalities. A car accident attorney is familiar with handling negligence claims that arise as the result of drowsy driving.

Who is most susceptible to drowsy driving?

There are certain categories of drivers who are most likely to drive drowsy because of their jobs or other circumstances.  For example, commercial drivers such as those who drive commercial buses, tow trucks and tractor-trailers and those who work the night shift or overtime hours, are often susceptible to drowsy driving because of their jobs. Another example is an individual who takes medication that causes drowsiness and others who may have untreated sleep disorders.

Suggestions on how to avoid drowsy driving

If you find yourself experiencing symptoms of drowsiness the wisest thing to do is pull your car over to a safe location immediately. If someone else can take over driving for you, that is the best option. Otherwise, you should take time to rest until you are fully alert. There are other safety precautions that can be used in order to protect yourself and others and to prevent a car accident, as a result of drowsy driving.

Using technology to reduce drowsy driving accidents

There have been various advances in the area of technology that can provide greater safety. New vehicles are begin equipped with technology that helps to reduce injuries caused by drowsy driving.  One of the more common forms of technology is the lane departure warning system. That particular system is meant to warn drivers using sound, vibration and a visual warning when the vehicle veers out of the lane.

What is “distracted driving?”

The legal definition of “distracted driving” is “[a]ny activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving.” There are actually three categories of activities that result in distracted driving: visual, manual and cognitive.
Visual distractions occur when you take your eyes off the road, whereas manual distractions result when you take your hands off the wheel.  Cognitive distractions are probably the hardest to avoid.  As humans, distractions are inevitable and cannot be avoided altogether.  But, eating while driving, results in all three categories of distracted driving; visual, manual and cognitive.

There are various types of distractions

Texting while driving, or simply talking on your cell phone, are not the only types of distractions that put people at risk when driving.  If you are involved in an auto accident, you may not see the other driver with that cell phone in his hand.  You may have noticed a cheeseburger, instead.  This would be an important detail to recall, as well, if you look to recover damages for your injuries.  Many people do not consider eating a form of distracted driving because most of us do it.  But the truth is, eating is a distraction, too.

How big of a problem is distracted driving?

According to statistics published by the federal government, 3,154 people were killed, and more than 400,000 injured, in 2013 in car accidents involving distracted drivers.  Twenty-year-olds have the largest proportion of drivers who are reportedly distracted, 10% of whom are involved in fatal crashes with a distracted driver.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to recover damages for those injuries. If you can prove that the driver was negligent or distracted at the time the accident occurred, you will likely have a good case. If you noticed that the driver was eating or engaging in any other distracted driving behavior, such as texting, talking on the phone, applying makeup, etc., those particular details are extremely important and should be disclosed to your car accident attorney.
If you have questions regarding car accidents or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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