Falling asleep when driving causes accident fatalities

As many Louisiana residents already know, driver fatigue is linked to fatal accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that fatigued drivers cause one quarter of fatal accidents in the United States each year. Without totally effective ways to curtail driving while fatigued, car and truck manufacturers are looking into technology that acts to alert the driver. The actual number of motor vehicle accidents caused by fatigue may be underreported, according to researchers, since no independent testing modality exists. Unless a driver admits he or she fell asleep, it might not be a consideration.

There are similarities between drunk drivers and fatigued drivers. Driving and not sleeping for 24 hours mimics having a blood alcohol content of .10 percent. In addition, drivers who are fatigued, as well as those who are intoxicated, may fail to take a corrective measure when their vehicle goes off the road.

Car and truck manufacturers are taking notice and equipping vehicles with warning systems that alert drivers if the vehicle leaves the road. Alerts are used to rouse the driver in some vehicles if it detects the driver is falling asleep or not steering appropriately. Others increase alertness by using intermittent alarms or asking the driver questions. Lasers or cameras are used to tell a driver if his or her vehicle is getting close to another vehicle. This reportedly lowers the incidence of rear-end crashes by 10 percent.

If an accident occurs due to another driver's negligence, such as falling asleep at the wheel, an injured victim may find it beneficial to consult with an attorney. Legal counsel may examine crash reconstruction reports and photos to determine if the other driver was negligently driving while fatigued. If it appears that negligence was the cause of the accident, a personal injury lawsuit could be filed seeking damages from the responsible party.

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