According to KFVSNews, a young man who was driving at 5:45 a.m. caused a recent car accident. According to the report, the man had fallen asleep at the wheel, and while no other cars were involved, the car operator veered off of the road, hitting a mailbox and ultimately hitting a tree. Although the man was wearing a seatbelt, and no major injuries occurred, this incident highlights the fact that driving drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and has the potential to cause severe, even fatal, Illinois car accidents.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) breaks down the hard facts of driving drowsy, saying that driving drowsy or sleepy can slow the operator’s reaction time, lower awareness and focus, weaken judgment and can potentially cause a serious accident. The NSF cautions that it is difficult for officials to identify driving drowsy because there is no Breathalyzer or blood test that can be used to confirm that sleepiness was a factor in an accident. However, the NSF reports “several states are considering legislation that would allow police to charge drowsy drivers with criminal negligence if they injure or kill someone while driving if they have not had adequate sleep”.
NSF testimony tells the story of a family who was driving to dinner at a restaurant. On the way to the restaurant, a young driver who had not slept in over a day collided with the family’s vehicle. A young boy, one of his sisters, and his mother all passed away in the accident, leaving one sister surviving, without a family. This car accident resulted in the wrongful death of three people, and could have been avoided if the driver would have waited to be more rested to operate the vehicle.
Our Chicago car accident attorneys advise all drivers to make sure that you are well rested and focused when operating any motor vehicle.
What can you do to reduce the risk of injuring yourself or others?
• Get sufficient sleep…caffeine will not cut it • Do not drink alcohol before you drive, especially if you feel fatigued • Try to avoid driving late at night • Make frequent stops on long trips • Get a ride from an alert friend or family member
Driving drowsy can lead to fatalities, pedestrian injuries, or result in the operator of the vehicle themselves suffering severe injuries. If you have been a victim of a car accident of this nature, or have lost a loved one because someone else fell asleep behind the wheel, please contact us as we may be able to help you seek compensation for your loss or injuries.