Drowsy Driving Car Accidents in Anne Arundel County

In a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 60 percent of participants admitted to driving on too little sleep over the past year. Even more disturbing is the fact that one in three respondents said that they fell asleep while driving.

Drowsy driving does not receive the same attention as other dangerous driving behaviors like drunk driving or distracted driving, even though studies show that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Like drunk driving, drowsy driving can reduce attentiveness, cause delayed reactions, and impair decision-making skills.

If a driver has gone without sleep for 21 hours, it can have a similar effect on them as having a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent, which is considered legally drunk. If a driver has gone without sleep for 24 hours, it can have a similar effect on them as having a blood alcohol content of 0.10 percent, which is above the legal limit in every state.

Higher Risk Groups

Too few people in the U.S. get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Over time, this can take a toll on a person’s health and safety, especially if it puts them at greater risk of getting into a serious car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the following groups of people are at greater risk of drowsy driving accidents than others:

  • Individuals suffering from chronic or acute sleep deprivation: People who get less than four hours of sleep in one night can experience similar levels of drowsiness as someone who gets less than six hours of sleep per night on a regular basis.
  • Commercial truck drivers: Drowsy driving is a common problem among truck drivers. While strict hours-of-service rules have been put into place, many truck drivers break the rules to meet tight deadlines.
  • People taking medications that cause drowsiness: Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause drowsiness. Examples include antidepressants, muscle relaxers, and some antihistamines.
  • People suffering from sleep disorders: According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 42 million Americans suffer from undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorders, including sleep apnea.
  • Shift workers: People who work long, rotating shifts often have irregular sleep patterns which can interrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm.
  • Young drivers: Even though teens require more sleep than older drivers, they rarely get the nine and a half hours that are considered optimal for tasks like driving. Males under the age of 26 are four times more likely to be involved in a drowsy driving accident than adults over the age of 30.

Proving Liability

Unlike drunk driving which can be confirmed through a breathalyzer test, there is no roadside test that can prove whether a driver has had too little sleep. However, there are characteristics that are common to drunk driving wrecks, including the following:

  • Witnesses saw the driver swerving in and out of the lane.
  • The accident occurred late at night or early in the morning when drivers tend to be the most tired.
  • Employment records show that the driver had worked long hours with no break for rest.
  • There were no skid marks, which suggest that the driver made no attempt to slow down.
  • The car ended up off the road, or veered into oncoming traffic.

Anne Arundel Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Victims of Drowsy Driving Accidents

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident involving a drowsy driver, contact an Anne Arundel car accident lawyer at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.