man driving and yawning

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving: How Fatigue Leads to Car Accidents and Liability

By Greg Kohn

As New Jersey car accident attorneys, we frequently witness the devastating consequences of car accidents. One of the lesser-discussed but equally dangerous causes of these accidents is drowsy driving. In this article, we’ll explore how fatigue contributes to car accidents and the potential liabilities associated with driving while drowsy.

The Prevalence of Drowsy Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving is responsible for approximately 91,000 crashes, 50,000 injuries, and 800 deaths each year in the United States. Another study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the actual number of accidents may be under-reported by 350%.

The Impact of Fatigue on Driving Performance

Drowsy driving poses a significant risk to public safety. Fatigue can impair a driver’s cognitive abilities, reaction time, and decision-making skills, making it difficult to maintain a consistent speed, stay within the lines, or respond to sudden changes in road conditions. Some common signs of drowsy driving include:

  • Frequent yawning or blinking
  • Drifting between lanes
  • Difficulty remembering the last few miles driven
  • Missing traffic signs or exits
  • Feeling restless or irritable

Liability in Drowsy Driving Accidents

Driving while fatigued can lead to severe consequences, not only in terms of physical harm but also legal liability. If a drowsy driver causes an accident, they may be held responsible for any damages or injuries sustained by other parties involved. 

In New Jersey, a driver’s negligence is determined by comparing the conduct of each party involved in the accident. If a driver is found to be more than 50% at fault, they may not be able to recover compensation from the other party. In fact, if you are found to be at all responsible for the accident, your recovery may be deducted by that percentage of fault.

For a victim to prove that a driver was drowsy and negligent, they must provide evidence showing that the driver’s fatigue directly contributed to the accident. This evidence can include witness statements, surveillance footage, or a driver’s admission of fatigue. Additionally, an experienced personal injury attorney can help gather crucial evidence and navigate the complexities of the legal system to ensure that victims receive fair compensation for their injuries.

Have You Been Injured in a Drowsy-Driving Accident?

Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys understand the life-changing impact that a car accident can have on victims and their families. Drowsy driving is a dangerous and all-too-common issue that needs to be addressed to ensure the safety of our roads. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a drowsy driver, it’s crucial to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to fighting for justice and fair compensation on behalf of our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can help you navigate the road to recovery.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.