Awareness and attention are essential aspects of driving. Just one driver who is negligent or unaware can wreak havoc on multiple others on the road by causing a major car accident. A fatigued driver, a person who drives while tired, has a diminished capability of driving as safely as possible and therefore puts others at risk. Even without actively falling asleep, someone who drives while drowsy can make fatal driving errors due to a lack of full cognitive ability. In fact, a tired driver encounters difficulties and obstacles similar to those of a drunk driver, since sleep deprivation has similar effects on the body as alcohol. In the same way victims of drunk driving accidents can take legal action against a drunk driver, fatigued drivers can be held liable for any injury or death they may cause due to their impaired driving. Victims of driver fatigue car accidents in Rhode Island and Massachusetts can hold the at-fault driver responsible with the help of Attorney David Tapalian, a personal injury lawyer with over twenty years of experience helping accident victims, and make a claim for compensation against a drowsy driver.Sleep Deprived Driving Compared to Drunk Driving
The effects of sleep deprivation on a motorist are similar to those of a driver impaired by alcohol. These cognitive function impairments can have an effect on a host of capabilities necessary for road safety including slowed reaction times, decreased decision-making abilities, and poor judgement. While being tired doesn’t sound as intentional or dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it can have just as serious repercussions behind the wheel.
For instance, driving after being awake for over 20 hours is comparable to driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%. (Rhode Island General Law states that impairment is defined by having a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.02% but less than 0.08%.) Drowsiness can often have a similar effect on one’s ability to drive as drunkenness, causing a similar level of risk and danger. If a motorist causes a collision as a result of sleep deprivation and you are hurt, a personal injury lawyer experienced with car accidents in RI and MA may be able to help you seek compensation for your injuries including medical expenses, hospital bills, doctors office visits, car repairs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.Effects of Fatigued Driving
Often times, people underestimate the risk they are taking when they drive fatigued. Due to potential nonchalance or dismissiveness of drowsiness symptoms, fatigued driving causes many preventable injuries and deaths every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving led to an estimated 91,000 car accidents in 2017 as well as 795 deaths. When people drive at late hours of the night or early hours of the morning, they are more likely to make fatal driving errors as a result of a lack of adequate sleep. They are also at risk of falling asleep while driving.
For example, in 2019, a Pawtucket, Rhode Island man fell asleep at the wheel before 6am resulting in a roll-over collision. The damage done to the vehicles as well as the injuries sustained could have been prevented had the offending driver stopped to assess his energy levels and ability to drive safely in his state of tiredness at that time. Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney David Tapalian has worked with victims of motor vehicle accidents, including driver fatigue car accidents, for over two decades and has the qualifications to help those victims take legal action after facing wrongful injury at the hands of another driver.Signs of a Tired Driver
Every driver on the road should take steps to avoid operating a motor vehicle while fatigued. It’s important to recognize the warning signs that a driver might be too tired to drive so that these types of accidents can be prevented. Drooping eyelids, drifting from one’s lane, and difficulty remembering details about recent aspects of the drive are all common indicators that the driver is getting tired and may be at risk of causing a severe accident. In order to prevent becoming too tired to operate their car safely, drivers should take necessary precautions such as taking breaks after long periods of travel and not driving under the influence of drowsy inducing medication. These simple steps can prevent the severe or fatal injuries that may occur due to a driver fatigue car accident.
Long-haul truck drivers, shift workers, and other occupations who work extended hours are particularly vulnerable to driver fatigue. As are new parents and caregivers who are often sleep-deprived. Sleep disorders, certain medical conditions, and medications can also lead to drowsiness.Driver Fatigue Laws in Rhode Island
While there is no law specifically against driving while fatigued in the states of Rhode Island or Massachusetts, there are still repercussions for drivers who cause car accidents. Under certain circumstances, driver fatigue may be considered a form of negligence. A personal injury lawyer will examine the evidence of your personal injury claim and determine your eligibility to seek compensation for your injuries caused by a drowsy driver such as medical expenses, vehicle damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The same mistakes drunk drivers make behind the wheel can happen at the hands of a tired driver and result in similar consequences of injury and possibly death. In order to ensure the safety of everyone on the road, it is imperative that anyone behind the wheel has gotten adequate sleep before driving.Contact Tapalian Law for a Free Consultation
Driver fatigue car accidents are easily preventable and yet occur far too frequently. Whether someone has caused damage or harm to another person on the road due to drifting out of their lane without noticing or completely falling asleep at the wheel, Attorney David Tapalian can help. Tapalian Law’s personal injury offices in Rhode Island and Massachusetts have the legal resources and skilled team to handle your car accident injury case. You may be eligible to seek compensation for your damages and losses related to the accident. If you or a loved one has found yourself a victim of such an accident, contact Tapalian Law by either going online or calling 401-552-5000 for a free consultation.