It is a scenario that almost all drivers have experienced at one time or another. After a long day or too many miles on the road, the driver begins to feel a little drowsy. Perhaps he drinks some coffee, turns up the radio or opens his window to the cold air in an attempt to stay awake. Sooner or later, though, the exhaustion always catches up. It could mean a slightly delayed reaction as a result of being tired. Or it could result in falling asleep behind the wheel. Many accidents are caused by drivers who are too tired for the demands of the task of driving.
When car accident injuries are caused by a drowsy driver’s negligence, the victim has the right to be compensated for his or her financial losses. A Roanoke car accident attorney can help injury victims fight to recover compensation.
The Facts About Drowsy Driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 25 adult drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel in the past 30 days. The CDC also reports that approximately 800 traffic deaths occurred in 2013 as a result of drowsy driving. This was the result of about 72,000 drowsy driving accidents across the United States.
Certain drivers are at greater risk of being involved in a drowsy driving accident. In general, drivers who do not get enough sleep are at a greater risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. For drivers with consistently interrupted sleep patterns, such as shift workers, this risk can be even greater. Untreated sleep disorders can also make a driver more prone to nodding off on the road. This is, in fact, such a problem that commercial driver’s license holders cannot be medically certified upon an initial diagnosis of sleep apnea. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that drivers can become medically qualified to drive only when their sleep apnea is successfully treated.
Drowsy Driving Accidents in Roanoke
The problem of drowsy drivers puts Roanoke residents in very real danger. According to WFIR, a pickup truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel on Merriman Road. He sideswiped an SUV and struck a Honda Accord head-on, sending it into a nearby house. The driver and passenger of that vehicle were both taken to the hospital. The SUV driver and residents in the home were unharmed. Still, the scope of the damage of this accident shows just how many Roanoke residents were put in danger by one drowsy driver who fell asleep behind the wheel. The Roanoke Times reports on another bizarre drowsy driving case. An ambulance driver fell asleep behind the wheel, injuring both the 18-year-old emergency medical technician and the patient riding in the back. Both were taken to the hospital while the driver was left uninjured.
Victims who are injured by drowsy drivers have legal rights. It can, however, be difficult to know how to protect those rights in the confusing aftermath of an auto accident. Consult with a Roanoke car accident attorney to learn more about the claims process and how your legal rights can be protected at every stage.