Fatigued driving is catching the radar of authorities as well as more and more civilians by the day. The experts at the U.S. Health Department consider this to be an alarming issue, as the number of accidents caused by driver’s fatigue is only going up. Many families have lost their loved ones due to this epidemic of fatigued driving on American roads, and they ask only this question: Can I sue a fatigued driver for a car accident in Georgia?
The terms drowsy, sleepy, and fatigue are used interchangeably, although there are different ways in which these terms can be used or understood. When fatigue affects drivers, it is almost always because they have not gotten enough sleep before getting behind the wheel.
The Impact of Drowsy Driving:
Drowsy driving constitutes a lethal threat to not only the drivers on the road, but to one’s own self as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that on a yearly average between the years of 2005 – 2009, drowsy driving contributed to the following:
- 83,000 crashes
- 37,000 injury crashes
- 886 fatal crashes (846 fatalities in 2014)
These estimates are understated and up to 6,000 fatal crashes may be caused each year by drowsy and fatigued drivers.
Crashes and Fatalities:
Fatigue caused car accidents in Georgia are not directly related to a particular hour of the day, but there are three factors commonly present in each scenario:
- They occur most frequently between midnight and 6 a.m., or in the late afternoon. At both times of the day, people experience dips in their circadian rhythm, which is the human body’s internal clock that regulates sleep
- They often involve only a single driver with no passengers cruising on the road at an exorbitantly high speed
- They frequently occur on rural roads and highways
According to the findings of the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of Americans have driven while feeling sleepy and 37% actually admit to having fallen asleep behind the wheel. This is an alarming number, and it affects all ages. The Medical Director of Sleep Disorder Centre, Dr. Lisa Johnston suggests that lack of sleep can adversely affect our driving skills and severely impairs our judgment. It can also have negative externalities over our reflex time and ergo cause accidents.
Causes of Fatigue:
The following are the causes of sleep deprivation and fatigue:
Lack of Sleep
Experts recommend that adults should get 7-9 hours of quality sleep every day for optimal performance. Studies show that over 37% of the American population is sleep deprived. Moreover, there is a large portion of the population having untreated sleep disorders.
What most people don’t realize is that time awake is just as critical as the amount of sleep you get. As your day progresses, your biological need for sleep increases. Studies suggest that if you are awake for more than 16 hours, your productivity gradually declines.
This has also been mentioned earlier and refers to the body’s natural clock or the sleep-wake cycle. Humans are programmed to be sleepy at night and alert during the day.
Time on Tedious Tasks:
This refers to how long you are doing the same task. It can be hard to do the same task for a long period of time and can therefore be fatiguing.
Who Is Susceptible?
Some groups of people are more prone to fatigue, and therefore at risk of drowsy driving.
- Teenagers: They are more prone to sleep disorders and insomniac behavior due to their addiction to mobile phones and different technologies. They prefer chatting online and watching movies all night, and wake up tired in the morning.
- Shift Workers: Employees who work night shifts are likely to not have proper sleep in the day because of all the rush that the sun brings with it.
- People Who Have to Travel for Work: Mostly truck drivers are more likely to end up in a fatigued car accident in Georgia.
- People Working More than One Job: They are more susceptible to drowsy driving car accidents as they might only get 4-5 hours of sleep every night.
How Do I Know When Fatigue Causes a Car Accident in Georgia?
The determination of this fact can be precarious as most drivers subsequent to the tragedy do not accept that they were drowsy driving. However, one can try to reveal the actualities of the accident by talking to the driver, and communicate to the police present at the scene. The truth of the accident caused by fatigue can only be unearthed by a team of professional car accident attorneys.
Every driver has a legal as well as an ethical obligation to be fully alert when behind the wheel. If they fail to do so, they will be liable to pay damages caused to the aggrieved plaintiff. We at Massey Law comprise a highly competent and skilled team of attorneys who specialize in car accident laws in Georgia. We will leave no stones unturned and provide you the best compensation you deserve for the damages you had to bear.