A recent study published by researchers at Virginia Tech has found that driver fatigue represents one of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents.
Virginia Tech Study Reveals Significant Dangers Posed by Fatigued Driving
A student from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute concluded that as many as 20 percent of car accidents are caused by driver fatigue. Most previous estimates concluded that only a small percentage of crashes, about two or three percent, were caused by fatigue or drowsiness. The study focused on 100 drivers in the Northern Virginia & Washington DC area. Study participants’ vehicles were equipped with video cameras, radar units, and other sensors to record data about the driver and vehicle performance. The study looked for signs of fatigue, including drooping eyelids, head bobbing, relaxing of facial muscles, and periods of microsleep.
The study found some surprising results regarding driver fatigue, including the fact that drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 accounted for the highest rates of driver fatigue. Study authors attributed this to the fact that older adolescents begin to shift their sleeping patterns to later hours, while high school and college classes usually are held during earlier hours. The study’s authors further opined that older drivers have more experience coping with light or moderate fatigue while behind the wheel.
The study also revealed that rates of daytime fatigue are higher than previously thought. In fact, the study’s numbers showed that more accidents and near-accidents occurred during the day than during the night.
Why Is Fatigued Driving So Dangerous?
Drowsiness or fatigue can make a driver a less safe driver for several reasons. Drowsy or fatigued driving is considered just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs because it has many of the same effects on the body, including:
- Reduced reaction times to emergencies or hazards on the road.
- Impaired visual perception and judgment, making it harder for a driver to recognize where their vehicle is or when hazards are approaching their vehicle.
- Lowered inhibition, which can cause drivers to engage in reckless driving behaviors like excessive speeding, weaving through traffic, tailgating, or running red lights and stop signs.
What to Do If You Have Been Involved in an Accident Caused by Fatigued Driving
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident with a driver that you suspect may be fatigued, you can take steps to protect your legal rights and options to pursue a fatigued driving accident case, including:
- Make sure to get contact insurance information from each motorist involved in the accident.
- Talk to any eyewitnesses to the accident to get a brief statement about what they say along with their contact info in case you later need their testimony.
- Use your mobile phone to take photos or video to document the accident, including vehicle damage, marks on the road, the overall scene of the crash, and any visible injuries you have suffered.
- Get examined by a doctor immediately after the accident to identify the injuries you sustained in the accident.
- Speak to a motor vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible so that they can begin investigating the accident and securing evidence that may be used to prove the crash was caused by fatigued driving.
Contact a Lake Worth Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Accident Case in Florida
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a motor vehicle accident in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. represent clients injured because of motor vehicle accidents in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, and throughout Florida. Call (561) 533-0345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 813 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth, FL 33460, as well as offices in Pompano Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.