Drowsy Driving Accidents on West Virginia Roads and Highways
Whether driving very late at night or very early in the morning, it’s not too hard to start to feel so tired you can hardly keep your eyes open, even though you know you’re behind the wheel of a powerful and potentially deadly machine. Fatigue can even come upon you in the middle of the day, whether from driving long stretches, boredom or other factors. It may not seem wrong to drive when you are tired, but the fact is that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Like driving drunk, driving while drowsy or fatigued is a dangerous behavior that can place you at fault for causing a serious or deadly car accident.
At Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson, we represent auto accident victims in West Virginia who were hit by drowsy or even asleep drivers. Read on to learn more about drowsy driving car accidents, or call our office for immediate assistance if you or a loved one were injured in a Martinsburg or West Virginia crash.
Facts and Statistics about Drowsy Driving Car Accidents
The Governors Highway Safety Alliance has estimated that about 5,000 people lost their lives in 2015 due to drowsy driving car accidents. Many safety researchers believe this number is underrepresented due to the difficulty of determining whether an at-fault driver was drowsy at the time of the crash. One recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that drowsy driving may be a factor in nearly ten percent of all car accidents.
The AAA Foundation also did research to quantify the effects of lack of sleep on driving. They found that driving after getting less than seven hours of sleep, or driving after getting one hour less of sleep than you normally get, significantly raises your chances of getting into an accident. Driving on only five to six hours of sleep doubles the risk, and on four to five hours of sleep, a person is 4.3 times more likely to cause a crash than someone who got more than seven hours’ sleep. This risk is the same as someone driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) just above the legal limit of .08%. Driving after less than four hours of sleep makes the odds of a crash 11.5 times higher, equivalent to a person driving with a BAC of .12 to .15%.
Drowsy Driving Car Accidents are Especially Dangerous
A drowsy driver lacks the ability to attend to the road and react in time to avoid an accident. Even worse, a driver who has fallen asleep, even for only a few seconds of microsleep, may completely fail to apply the brakes, swerve or otherwise attempt to avoid a crash. This makes drowsy driving crashes much more forceful and likely to cause serious or catastrophic injuries. Head-on collisions, often one of the most deadly forms of car accident, are more likely, as an unconscious driver may unknowingly drift across lanes into oncoming traffic.
Drowsy drivers can be held liable for the damages they cause in a car accident. An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to investigate the accident and determine its causes and at-fault parties.
Help is Available for Victims of West Virginia Drowsy Driving Car Accidents
For help after a car accident in West Virginia, contact the experienced and dedicated Martinsburg personal injury lawyers at Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson for a free case evaluation at 304-263-0900, or toll free at 800-903-0901.