Over the past decades, much attention has been given to the issue of impaired driving – and for good reason. However, there is another growing risk on New York roads that drivers should be aware of: drowsy driving.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a sleepy driver, you understand how serious these accidents can be. The reality is: a fatigued driver who gets behind the wheel puts the lives of others at risk, and he or she should be held accountable for the resulting damages.
With the help of a car accident lawyer with Cellino Law, you can recover compensation for your losses and seek justice for yourself and your family. We are ready to put our decades of experience and success to work for you. Contact us today at (800) 555-5555 to schedule your free consultation to learn how we can help.
Table of Contents
The Serious Nature and Statistics of Drowsy Driving
Many believe that they would be able to pull their vehicle over before getting too tired or falling asleep behind the wheel. In reality, though, when a person drives fatigued, he or she runs the risk of a microsleep.
This can happen without even realizing it, with your brain switching between wakefulness and sleep rapidly, with a sleep period lasting only a few seconds. For example, when driving at around 60 mph, even having a microsleep of 4 seconds results in 111 feet traveled without control, running the risk of drifting off the road or into oncoming traffic.
According to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, driver fatigue played a role in 2,337 police-reported personal injury and fatal crashes in our state in 2017.
Crashes in Long Island involving a drowsy driver tend to have certain similar characteristics, often occurring:
- In the late night, early morning, or midafternoon
- On a high-speed road
- With serious damages
Effects of Sleepiness on Driving Ability
Even before a person falls asleep behind the wheel, driver fatigue has major effects on a person’s ability to drive, including reaction time and concentration.
Slower reaction time
Having a slower reaction time means that a driver may not be able to react in time to stop and avoid an accident. This is an even bigger problem when traveling at higher speeds.
When driving, there are many tasks that require close attention to detail and the ability to multitask. When functioning on too little sleep, it can be easy for your thoughts to drift off and for you to lose focus on the road.
What Are the Risk Factors for Drowsy Driving?
Encountering a drowsy driver on the road can happen to anyone. However, in our years of experience, Cellino Law’s Long Island car accident lawyers have learned that there are specific factors that increase the risk of drowsy driving on the road.
For many, not getting enough sleep is a regular occurrence. According to the Sleep Foundation, the recommended amount of sleep for teenagers is between 8 and 10 hours, and between 7 and 9 hours for adults. Of course, this is a general rule, and individual needs are different.
The amount of sleep a person needs to get sufficient rest can depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Daily activity level
- Health issues
- Sleeping problems
- Caffeine intake
When a person does not have enough rest over an extended period of time, the person can experience chronic fatigue, increasing the risk of driving while drowsy.
As mentioned, the majority of drowsy driving accidents happen at a similar time of day: after midnight and in the mid-afternoon, when people are more likely to feel sleepy. It stands to reason, then, that Long Island drivers who are on the road at these times are more likely to experience drowsy driving accidents.
Certain types of workers are also at a higher risk of driver fatigue. Commercial drivers in particular are required to drive long hours and may be facing tight deadlines imposed by their employers. What’s more, healthcare workers and other shift workers may work varying hours without getting enough sleep.
According to state law, a drowsy driver can be charged with a DWI in Long Island if he or she is impaired by any type of drug, including legal, prescription medication.
Some commonly used prescription medications that can cause drowsiness include:
While a person may use caution when taking prescribed medication, many do not realize that even some over-the-counter medicines can have an effect on a person’s ability to drive. A person should use caution with certain allergy medicines and even herbal remedies.
Individuals in Long Island who are suffering from a sleep disorder, whether diagnosed or not, are at a higher risk of drowsy driving. There are dozens of recognized sleep disorders to be wary of, with insomnia and sleep apnea being two of the most common.
Both of these sleep disorders limit a person’s ability to get the amount of rest he or she needs. Insomnia makes it difficult for a person to fall asleep or stay asleep and can be either short-term or chronic.
People with sleep apnea experience breathing disruptions several times per night, limiting the amount of deep sleep their body gets.
Alcohol consumption on its own is known to increase drowsiness, even when it is consumed in smaller quantities. There are other ways that alcohol can be a factor in a drowsy driving accident as well.
For example, alcohol can interact with certain medications and compound negative side effects they can cause. Alcohol abuse has also been shown to cause sleep disruptions and reduce sleep quality. Especially if someone drinks heavily on a regular basis, that person may be more prone to being fatigued during the day, potentially resulting in a drowsy driving accident.
The Team at Cellino Law is Here for You After Your Accident
If you have been injured in a car accident that was caused by driver fatigue, you need the help of an experienced Long Island auto accident lawyer to handle your personal injury case. The award-winning lawyers at Cellino Law are here to help you understand your legal options after an accident.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, your drowsy driving accident lawyer can recover full compensation for your losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Emotional damages
- Wrongful death benefits
We understand that being injured in an accident is stressful, but you don’t need to handle the legal processes on your own. We are here to help. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with the Cellino Law Long Island team.