Tiredness among drivers is a common condition and can lead to serious accidents in Louisiana and other states, especially when people operating motor vehicles nod off for a few moments or even longer. A poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that in 2005, around 168 million people had experienced drowsiness while driving a vehicle. Out of that number, 37 percent of participants in the survey admitted to falling asleep at the wheel. A number of these individuals responded that it was a common occurrence that had happened monthly.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that around 100,000 car accidents across the country a year result from sleepy drivers. These accidents amount in around 1,500 deaths and over 70,000 injuries each year, but preventing sleepy driving can be difficult for police officers because they don’t have a test for drowsiness as they do for alcohol use. Certain groups, such as males and people between the ages of 18 and 29, are more likely to drive while feeling tired or fall asleep at the wheel.
There is also no national standard for reporting drowsiness as a cause for accidents. Although many states have spaces on forms for police officers to note when sleepiness is involved, this type of impairment is not tracked in the same way as incidents involving impaired drivers. Alcohol and other drugs can also be a factor in why a driver feels sleepy while behind the wheel.
Bringing a lawsuit against a driver who was impaired because of tiredness can be more of a challenge than a case involving alcohol because sometimes police officers don’t record sleepiness on accident reports. In this type of personal injury case, the plaintiff needs to prove damages with documentation such as medical bills. An experienced attorney with personal injury experience can advise clients on whether to settle or go ahead with a court trial to try for damages.