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Drowsy Driving Accidents

Bus accidents, 18-wheeler accidents, motorcycles accidents, and automobile accidents all have many causes,  but one common, and very dangerous, cause  his fatigue,  or what is commonly known as drowsy driving.

Because drivers often fail to report their own fatigue when they’re in an accident, exact drowsy driving figures are difficult to come by. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that at least 2.5% of all fatal crashes and about 2 percent of all nonfatal crashes with injuries are caused by a driver who was too tired to drive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, has produced modeling studies suggesting that the NHTSA number maybe quite a bit low. There modeling suggests that between 15 and 33 percent of fatal crashes possibly involve driver fatigue. Fatalities and injuries also tend to be more severe than in accidents that don’t involve tired drivers.

In 2011, the Texas Department of Transportation cited fatigued driving as a factor in 4,183 vehicle crashes. Of those, 136 were fatal, with 1,178 resulting in serious injuries and another 711 resulting in relatively minor injuries. Nationally, the NHTSA cites fatigue as a factor in more than 100,00 motor vehicle crashes annually, resulting in 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 serious injuries.

The problem may be more widespread than any agency is able to count, however. The CDC examined Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data for 2009 and 2010, from more than 147,000 respondents in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The respondents were asked questions about drowsiness and fatigue while driving, and 4.2 percent of them reported having fallen asleep while driving at least once during the previous 30 days. Texans registered the largest number in that study, with a 6.1 percent response rate.

According to some research, the impairment level for being awake for 18 straight hours was roughly equivalent to having blood-alcohol level of 0.05 percent. Those who had been awake for 24 straight hours were found to be just as impaired as someone with a blood-alcohol level of 0.10, which is actually above the legal limit in Texas.

Government researchers have also studied drowsy driving risk, complications, causes, and possible countermeasures.  A report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  found that  young people  under 30,  especially males,  are the most likely to be  involved in crashes where a driver falls asleep.  in some states, the NHTSA  data  show that men were five times more likely than women  to be involved in such a crash,  and that three quarters  of such crashes  involved  people under the age of 30.

The car wreck attorneys at Hill Law Firm have experience in handling cases involving tired and fatigued drivers.  In these cases it is very important to be able to request the right documents to analyze and determine if drivers are overworked, have a medical issues, or have other indicia that they are likely to fall asleep while driving.  If you need to speak to an experienced lawyer regarding an accident involving a fatigued driver, contact the lawyers at Hill Law Firm in San Antonio and throughout Texas today, so that we can begin an investigation and work to protect your rights under the law.