Understanding The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving, or driving a motor vehicle when fatigued or sleepy, is a condition that can affect anyone while they are behind the wheel. Drowsy driving raises the risk of accidents considerably and causes a disconcertingly high number of traffic accident injuries and fatalities every year.

Each year, drowsy driving takes a huge toll in terms of loss of lives and money in the United States. Often, it is the fatal combination of fatigue or sleepiness, mixed with driving. While it happens mostly when a driver loses focus due to lack of sleep, there may be other reasons such as alcohol, medications, sleep disorders, or shift work.

It is dangerous for everyone on the road if a motorist falls asleep while driving, but drowsiness impairs your ability as a safe driver even without falling asleep at the wheel. Drowsiness slows down your reaction time, hampers your concentration level, and affects your decision-making ability.

Some Drowsy Driving Statistics

  • According to an estimate, one in twenty-five drivers report falling asleep behind the wheel in the last 30 days, at any given point in time
  • As per National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, drowsy driving was the reason behind at least 91,000 accidents, causing nearly 50,000 injuries and 800 fatalities, in 2017
  • However, according to estimates by researchers, the actual numbers could be much higher due to underreporting, and drowsy drivers are responsible for up to 6,000 fatal collisions each year
  • Estimates show that roughly 21% of fatal car accidents involve a drowsy driver
  • Individuals who snore, or sleep for fewer than six hours in a day, are likely to fall asleep when driving

Common Causes of Drowsy Driving

Lack of Sleep

Sleep deprivation is a major cause of extreme daytime drowsiness, which may prompt excessive sleepiness while driving. A substantial number of people fail to get seven to nine hours of minimum recommended sleep each night.

Sleep Disorders

Often, sleep disorders remain undetected and go untreated, causing excessive drowsiness during routine daytime activities such as driving. Sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, cause restrictions and interruptions in a person’s sleep, making it less restorative.

Alcohol

The use of alcohol induces sleepiness and affects reaction time, increasing the risk of accidents while driving under the influence.

Medications

Use of certain medications may prompt sleepiness directly, or as a side-effect. Prescription drugs, dietary supplements, and over-the-counter medicines, taken at night, may leave a person feeling groggy the next day.

Time of Day

The circadian rhythm of our bodies causes sleepiness to peak twice during the 24-hour cycle, in the mid-afternoon, or between midnight and 6 am. It is no surprise motor vehicle accidents due to drowsy driving mostly occur at these times of the day.

The Most Likely Candidates for Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving may affect anyone at the wheel of a motor vehicle, but certain people or groups of people pose a higher risk of being involved in drowsy driving car accidents, including:

  • Sleep-deprived drivers
  • Commercial bus drivers, long-haul truckers, tow trucks operators
  • People who work long shifts, irregular hours, or night shifts
  • People with sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea
  • People on medications that induce sleepiness
  • Teenagers with little driving experience combined with sleep depravation

Signs of Drowsy Driving

Learning to recognize some clearly evident signs of drowsy driving can help you protect a loved one or yourself, while on the road, or behind the wheel. Keep an eye on these telltale signs of drowsy driving to avert potential accidents. Some of these signs are:

  • Frequent blinking, or tired eyes
  • Difficulty remembering to take the correct exit
  • Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven
  • Drifting aimlessly across the lanes
  • Memory lapses
  • Straying towards the rumble strips at the side of the roads
  • Frequent yawning
  • Tailgating other cars
  • Inability to maintain proper speed

If you see or feel any of these symptoms, treat them as warning signs and pull over as soon as you can to rest, or change drivers if you are traveling with someone. Rolling down the window or turning up the volume on the car radio will not help to keep you alert, effectively.

If you see any other driver displaying any of these warning signs, remain alert and be ready to create a gap between you and the other vehicle. The other driver might be either fatigued or inebriated. Stay out of their way safely, by slowing down and dropping back.

If you absolutely must pass, make sure to do so with extreme caution. However, if the other driver is being completely reckless, you should pull over and call the authorities immediately.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Georgia

If you or a loved one is a victim of an accident where the other driver was guilty of drowsy driving or any other negligence, our auto accident attorneys at Stein & Fox can help you get the full and fair compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our lawyers will help with a legal strategy based on the specifics of your case in order to seek and claim the maximum possible compensation for you.

Call today at (770) 961-1700 or contact us online, to set up a free, no-obligation consultation to get started.

 

Who is Responsible if My Child is Injured at Summer Camp?

Summer is synonymous with summer camps. Parents start thinking about sending their young ones for exciting adventures during the holidays.

Summer camps provide opportunities for making new friends to the children, while their parents have the chance to grab a few days of well-deserved peace and calm. In sending their kids off to summer camp, parents place a lot of trust in the camp’s organizers, counselors, and staff.

Unfortunately, injuries still occur. While minor injuries are commonplace, you need to be aware of the ways that you can seek damages if your child sustains a serious injury at summer camp.

Premises Liability Theory

Premises liability has its legal basis in the idea that a venue’s owners are responsible for the safety of their patrons, to some extent. Premises liability law is applicable to schools, stadiums, grocery stores, amusement parks, and also summer campgrounds, and numerous other types of property.

In a summer camp, owners/caretakers are obligated to keep the campgrounds clean, free of hazards and obstacles, and ensure that they are easy to navigate. They must also ensure proper maintenance and routine inspection of all equipment on the camp property.

If your child suffers injuries as a result of some problem with the property or faulty equipment, and the owners had prior knowledge of the fault, then you may pursue a personal injury compensation claim with the camp owners. In such an event, you have the legal option to claim through the owner’s insurance and recoup your kid’s medical treatment bills and any other damages.

While the property owners must share responsibility for your child’s injuries while at summer camp, sometimes it may not be completely their fault. There may be parties other than the camp’s owners who could also be liable for the injuries suffered by your child.

Negligence

Negligent Actions of Staff Members

You entrust the camp’s organizers, counselors, and other staff with the safety and well-being of your child when you send them to summer camp. If negligence by a staff member of the camp causes your child’s injury, then you can hold them legally liable. Often, it might be difficult to assign liability and hold someone specifically culpable for the injury.

When you file a claim for your child’s injury, you need to delve into the specifics of the situation that caused the injury, and the exact circumstances surrounding it. For example, if your child is injured after being left behind by a negligent camp counselor, they would be liable along with the camp organizers who hired them.

Shared Liability Between Multiple Parties

In cases of negligence, it may not be apparent right away who is responsible for your child’s injury. If your child’s injury is a result of direct actions or negligence of one or more staff members, the onus to share liability lies on the organizers of summer camp for hiring the staff members.

But if your child is injured on the camp premises while disobeying camp rules or violating clear instructions, your child would share the blame partly. Under the premises liability law, owners of a venue cannot be held liable if the patron suffers injuries due to their own reckless actions.

Recovery of compensation may be tricky where it is difficult to assign liability to a specific party, and multiple parties share responsibility for the negligent action. You will need to consult with an experienced premises liability attorney to help you with the claims process and for skillful negotiations with the insurers.

Criminal Assault

In cases where injuries suffered by your child are a result of deliberate and premeditated actions by a staff member or a camper, the case would no longer be a premises liability or personal injury claim but may turn into a criminal case of assault.

Filing for Damages in Case of Liability Waiver

It is not uncommon for the parents to sign a liability waiver releasing the camp organizers from any liability arising from injuries to their child. Having signed a liability waiver for your child’s summer camp, you may have to depend on your health insurance policy to pay for your child’s medical treatment if they suffer injuries.

However, if the injuries suffered by your child are due to the negligence or misconduct of the camp organizer, you may file a personal injury compensation claim to seek damages, in spite of signing a liability waiver.

Contact Us to Help You Recover Compensation for Your Child’s Injuries

Summer camp injury claims are complex, with every case being different. If you are unsure of the course of action to be taken after your child has suffered injuries at summer camp, our personal injury attorneys can help you identify the liable party and recover compensation.

At the law offices of Stein & Fox, we work hard for families suffering due to a child’s summer camp injuries. We can help you recover the maximum damages possible for your child’s losses and injuries. Call us today at (770) 961-1700 or contact us online to schedule a no-obligation review of your case with one of our personal injury attorneys.