There are people all over New York who are running on fumes. People work long hours or are up all night with a baby, and still others are simply not getting enough sleep at night. Many of these folks are experiencing signs of exhaustion. It may not seem like a serious problem to worry about, but drowsiness ends up playing a role in thousands of car accidents every year.
Some sources suggest that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving because a driver’s reflexes and reaction time are markedly slowed down in both cases. This puts other motorists in danger of being hit by a fatigued driver and seriously injured. But what can be done to prevent or punish drowsy driving?
Unfortunately, police officers and other officials have a very difficult time proving that a driver was drowsy or fell asleep prior to an accident. It can be easy to look at a cellphone to determine if a driver was distracted before an accident, and blood tests can confirm if a driver was drunk. But proving and quantifying sleepiness is not so simple.
But drowsy driving is an issue that must be addressed. Between 2000 and 2010, more than 11,000 people were killed in accidents involving a drowsy driver. But many people still continue to engage in the dangerous behavior because they are not aware of just how risky it is to drive while tired. Without increased awareness of the dangers attributed to drowsy driving, people will continue to get behind the wheel when they shouldn’t be and can end up causing a devastating accident.
It is unfortunately uncommon that a driver will end up facing criminal conviction in these types of accidents, but victims can still gain a sense of justice by pursuing a civil claim against a negligent driver. Money cannot undo the damage caused in an accident, but civil damages can raise awareness of the issue, help assign responsibility for a crash and hold those drivers accountable for their reckless behavior.
Source: The Associated Press, “Drowsy driving remains an elusive highway dilemma,” Frank Eltman, May 11, 2013