In Minnesota and across the United States, catastrophic injuries often take place because of distracted and drowsy drivers. A negligent driver may suffer from sleepiness caused by lack of sleep, chronic insomnia, alcohol consumption or working late hours. According to a 2013 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, drowsy drivers caused approximately 72,000 car accidents, 44,000 personal injuries and 800 deaths in one year.
Studies show that as many as 6,000 catastrophic injuries occur each year because of drivers suffering from fatigue. Drivers should pay attention to a few warning signs attributed to drowsy driving, including frequent blinking and yawning, lane drifting and trouble recalling the miles already driven. In addition, sleepy drivers tend to miss their exits. Drowsy drivers can cause serious injuries to their victims. Truck drivers and bus drivers are prone to causing crashes due to driving long and late-night hours.
Employees working long overtime hours, especially late at night or after midnight, may not have the ability to fight off sleep while driving. Some drivers have medical conditions, including sleep apnea, causing the breath to stop and start intermittently. Drivers need to pay attention to warnings on their prescription and over-the-counter medications regarding their proclivities to cause drowsiness. Drivers should avoid taking medicines that cause sleepiness when driving their vehicle. If this is not possible, drivers should pay attention to warning signs of impending drowsiness and pull off the road promptly.
Changing drivers or taking a 20- to 30-minute nap may help prevent an accident from occurring. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises drivers to obtain ample sleep before driving. Adults should get at least seven hours of sleep while teenagers should obtain eight hours of sleep.
Car accident victims with serious injuries may want to consult with a personal injury attorney about their legal rights to pursue compensation. The attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement or represent victims during litigation.