Drowsy driving accidents are very common in the United States, with fatigued motorists responsible for 15 to 33 percent of deadly motor-vehicle collisions. One recent collision involving a drowsy driver that made national news involved a Wal-Mart truck driver that may have been awake for 24 hours or longer. This accident got a lot of attention when so many other drowsy driving crashes don't because it critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan, who is a former "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" cast member.
The accident drew attention to the issue of fatigued driving, and New York Magazine recently published an article suggesting that the behavior of drowsy driving needs to be stigmatized just like drunk driving.
A motorist who is too tired is impaired in many ways similar to a drunk driver. He has delayed reaction times, and impaired judgment. The fatigued driver can be held legally responsible for the consequences of his behaviors and accident lawyers in Houston can help. Call Hagood & Neumann to discuss your rights.
Stopping Drowsy Driving Accidents
When a driver has been awake for 24 hours, he is as impaired as someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .10. This is over the limit of .08 and means that he is driving like someone who is drunk. A driver who has been awake for 18 hours has the equivalent impairment of someone with a BAC of .05, which means that his risk of an accident is also increased.
Despite these risks, many people don't refrain from driving while drowsy even though they know that they should. One study conducted by the AAA Foundation found that 96.3 percent of people strongly disapproved of driving when it was difficult to keep your eyes open. Yet, 26.3 percent of those who disapproved indicated that they had continued to drive when they were having trouble staying awake over the 30 days prior to the survey.
A Public Attitude Survey conducted in 2012 also found that while 91 percent of drivers said they did not text while driving and 95 percent of drivers said that they did not drive drunk, only 38 percent of motorists said that they did not drive when they were fatigued.
Passing a law preventing drowsy driving would be impractical for private citizens as it would be difficult to enforce since there is no way to tell how long a driver has been awake. There are laws in place that restrict the hours that truck drivers can operate their vehicles. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration limits trucker hours to 14 hours a day, and to 11 hours of daily driving. The number of hours truckers can drive per week are limited. Unfortunately, the driver in the Tracy Morgan crash may stand accused of breaking those laws and there are many other truckers that also don't follow them.
Social stigma could make a difference in changing people's behaviors, and it is important to get the word out that driving while drowsy is never OK.
Accident lawyers in Houston can help after your injury. Call today at (800) 632-9404 or visit https://www.h-nlaw.com to schedule your free consultation with Hagood & Neumann.