Drowsy Driving Accidents in New Jersey
One of the most prevalent dangerous driving activities is a driver who gets behind the wheel when fatigued. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 21% of all fatal accidents have been the result of motorists driving while fatigued. This is believed to be a conservative figure because many do not realize that being tired has affected their driving performance, therefore, do not report drowsy driving as being a cause of a car accident. The Foundation also determined that approximately one in five car accident fatalities are caused by drivers who fell asleep behind the wheel.
Drowsy driving is considered a negligent act equal to distracted driving and is just as dangerous as texting while driving, talking on a cell phone while driving, or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When polled by AAA, 97% of people feel it is dangerous to drive while tired but many do not perceive the risk is as great as drunk driving.
Another challenge motorists may face is not being able to determine if they are too tired to drive. In spite of having long, busy days, many people feel fully awake before they get in their car. Often times, drivers may not begin to feel tired until they begin moving on the road. When going on long trips, individuals may be truly rested and wide awake when embarking on a journey, but after hours of driving may not realize they are becoming drowsy.
Signs of Drowsiness
- Constant yawning or rubbing of eyes
- Drifting in and out of lanes or drifting on to the sides and shoulders of roads
- Missing exit signs or making a wrong turn when driving on a familiar route
- Trouble staying focused and struggling to keep eyes opened
- Slower than usual reaction times
- Becoming too aggressive and irritable
Fatigue is a warning sign that falling asleep at the wheel could be imminent. People move from feeling drowsy to sleeping in an instant. Turning air conditioners on, opening windows, or blasting music will not keep drivers awake for extended periods of time.
Drowsy Driving Prevention
- Make it a priority to get enough sleep every night. Although it is very important to get a proper night’s sleep (seven to nine hours) before taking a long trip, it is equally as important to maintain good sleep habits in order to avoid everyday fatigue.
- People traveling long distances should either travel with someone else and share the driving or take frequent breaks. It is best to switch drivers or take a short rest about every two hours.
- Avoid drinking even a small amount of alcohol before driving.
- Pay attention to the warning signs of fatigue. The warning signs should prompt a driver to get off the road and stop driving.
- Commercial drivers should stay within their required hours of service.
Educating law enforcement as to the signs and dangers of drowsy driving is part of training in many states throughout the country. Some police crash reports have been revised to include a new code for falling asleep. Research studies and surveys have included factors related to driving while fatigued, sleep related issues for long distance truckers, and studies of truck drivers’ use of public rest areas.
In New Jersey a driver who has been without sleep for 24 hours is considered a reckless driver—the same class as driving while intoxicated. Although driving while fatigued is defined as negligent, it becomes challenging to prove because there are still no conclusive tests to determine if a person is too tired to be driving. Driving while fatigued puts the lives of passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians at risk. Cherry Hill personal injury lawyers at DiTomaso Law are seasoned litigators who have extensive experience in obtaining compensation for individuals injured in drowsy driving car accidents.
South Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Represent Victims Injured in Philadelphia and South Jersey Car Accidents Caused by Drowsy Drivers
If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver in South Jersey or Philadelphia, our Cherry Hill car accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law can help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. We have been successfully representing victims of car accidents in Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey for almost 20 years. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Cherry Hill, New Jersey allowing us to be accessible to residents throughout Cherry Hill, Mt. Holly, and Mount Laurel. Call DiTomaso Law at 856-414-0010 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our South Jersey car accident lawyers.