Drowsy Driving: The Silent Killer
When car accidents are covered in the media, we often hear about those caused by drunk driving or distracted driving. Not surprisingly, significant advocacy and media coverage has been devoted to these extremely serious problems. But with so much attention focused on texting and driving or drinking and driving, it is easy to forget about the other causes of fatal car crashes, and drowsy driving also causes many traffic fatalities on the roads of America every year. If you or a loved one has been injured by a drowsy driver, it is important to get legal advice as soon as possible. Call Deldar Legal at (844) 335-3271 to schedule a free case evaluation with a West Covina car accident lawyer. We are committed to helping victims recover compensation, and are standing by to protect your rights.
Drowsy Driving by the Numbers
The National Safety Council draws attention to this problem with a public awareness campaign each year in early November. In 2019, November 3 through 10 was designated Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, and the NSC used the opportunity to share some alarming statistics:
- A NHTSA study found that drivers’ reaction times, awareness of hazards, and ability to sustain attention all worsen the drowsier the driver is.
- Driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% – the legal limit across the United States.
- You are three times more likely to be in a car crash if you are fatigued.
And according to the National Sleep Foundation, certain drivers are at greater risk for driving while tired:
- Young drivers – Combining inexperience with sleepiness and a tendency to drive at night puts young people at risk, especially males aged 16-25 years.
- Shift workers and people working long hours – People who work night shifts, rotating shifts, double shifts, or work more than one job have a six-fold increase in drowsy driving crashes.
- Commercial drivers – Those who drive a high number of miles and drive at night are at a significantly higher risk for fall-asleep crashes. Commercial drivers have also been found to be at high risk for sleep disorders.
- People with untreated sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – People with untreated OSA are up to seven times more likely to have a drowsy driving crash.
- Business travelers – Frequent travelers who may be suffering from jet lag or who spend long hours behind the wheel are at an increased risk of fatigued driving.
It is important for all drivers to recognize the signs of tiredness. Pulling over saves lives, and failure to do so could make you legally responsible for any results of
Who is at Fault for a Drowsy Driving Accident?
Every driver on the roads of California has a legal duty of care. This is the duty to act as a reasonably prudent driver would in similar circumstances. Failure to do so is negligence, and this makes a driver legally responsible (liable) for causing an accident. A person who is found liable also has a legal duty to compensate victims for all the losses they suffer as a result of their injuries. This is why insurance companies start a claim by determining who was “at fault” for the accident.
But the driver is not the only one who can be found liable for your injuries. Employers are liable for all negligence committed by their employees within the scope and course of employment. If, for example, you were hit by a pool service vehicle en route to a house call, the company could be liable for the negligence of its employee (the driver).
This is also why a transportation company can be held liable for the negligence of its truck drivers. While many truck drivers are independent contractors, this designation is not always enough to shield the employer from liability. This is especially true in cases where the trucking company has engaged in negligent conduct of its own. For example, some companies encourage truckers to squeeze in extra hours of driving, more miles, or more runs.
Uber and Lyft can also face liability for accidents caused by their drivers. Like truck drivers, most rideshare drivers are designated as independent contractors. But also like trucking companies, this designation – which is being challenged in courts across the country – does not protect rideshare companies from liability. The question of whether they are vicariously liable for the negligence of their drivers remains an unsettled legal issue. Nonetheless, Uber and Lyft both offer supplemental liability coverage with high limits to cover their drivers for accidents caused while they are on duty. And rideshare companies are directly liable for their own negligence. Promoting unsafe driving habits by inadequate screening, long shifts, insufficient safety training, and other business practices can make Uber or Lyft liable for causing its drivers to drive while tired.
There are other companies, employers, and legal entities that might be liable for your accident. This is determined by the particular facts of your accident. It is important to consult with a West Covina car accident lawyer about your case.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a West Covina Car Accident Lawyer
Too many victims are injured and killed by drowsy drivers. It is important for accident victims to hold drivers accountable for all negligent driving behaviors – including drowsy driving – in order to deter such conduct in the future. Personal injury claims help keep the roads of California safer for everyone. They encourage drivers, truckers, rideshare services, transportation companies, and other employers to enact safer practices in their driving policies.
Call (844) 335-3271 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation at Deldar Legal. Our experienced West Covina car accident lawyers fight hard for West Covina accident victims. We protect your legal right to compensation and know how to fight back against insurance company tactics designed to get you to settle for less.
Posted in: Auto Accidents