Most people lead busy lives handling everything from family responsibilities to stressful jobs, among other challenges. This makes it difficult for busy New Yorkers to get the seven to nine hours of sleep recommended each night.
Failing to get plenty of sleep can lead to fatigued or drowsy driving, which is a common cause of Long Island car accidents. It is also important to note that even if a driver does not fall asleep, fatigue impairs their judgment and slows reaction times.
According to The Governors Highway Safety Association, drowsy driving contributes to approximately 328,000 each year, and over 50% of these involve a driver under 25.
New York Drowsy Driving Statistics
According to a 2022 report from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, fatigued or drowsy driving was a contributing factor in more than 1,000 accidents reported to the police. Of these, 446 resulted in injuries, and three were fatal.
Additionally, in 2,894 crashes, the contributing factor listed on the police report was that the “driver fell asleep.” Six of the reported accidents involved at least one fatality, and over 1,000 caused injuries.
The groups identified as at the highest risk of drowsy driving include:
- People who work night shifts
- Public transit drivers
- Tractor-trailer drivers
- College students
- New parents
- High school students
- Those with sleep disorders
While these groups are most likely to be involved in these accidents, they can happen to anyone anytime.
Understanding Driver Fatigue
Driver fatigue is not merely feeling tired or sleepy. It encompasses a range of impairments, such as:
- Reduced attention span
- Slowed reaction time
- Impaired judgment
Many compare driving fatigued to drunk driving, and just like drunk driving, driving under the influence of fatigue can have catastrophic consequences, leading to life-changing injuries or, in the worst case, loss of life.
The Law and Driver Fatigue in New York
New York State law does not explicitly categorize driver fatigue as a form of impaired driving, unlike alcohol or drug use.
If drivers continue to drive when they are fatigued or past the point where it is safe to stay on the road, they may be considered negligent if an accident occurs. The victim of this accident (if there is one) may be able to receive compensation from the negligent driver.
Pursuing a Long Island Car Accident Claim
If you’ve been a victim of a car accident caused by driver fatigue, you have legal options. A car accident attorney can help you navigate the complicated legal landscape to get you the compensation you deserve.
Some of the steps involved in filing a Long Island car accident claim include:
Collecting evidence is the cornerstone of any successful Long Island car accident claim. This involves gathering documents like the police accident report, medical records, and eyewitness statements.
Photos of the accident scene, skid marks, and vehicle damage can also be invaluable. The more comprehensive your evidence, the stronger your case will be. Proper documentation can substantiate your claim that driver fatigue contributed to the accident, making it easier for your car accident attorney to argue on your behalf.
Consult an Attorney
Consulting a car accident attorney is a critical step following any vehicle accident, especially when driver fatigue is a suspected cause. A qualified attorney can offer an initial assessment of your case and guide you through the complexities of New York’s legal system.
They can help you understand your rights, what kinds of compensation you may be entitled to, and how best to present your case.
File a Claim
Once you have all your evidence and have consulted with an attorney, the next step is to formally file a Long Island car accident claim. Your attorney will help you draft and submit the necessary legal documents outlining the damages you’re seeking and presenting your evidence.
This stage often involves negotiations with insurance companies, something your attorney will handle for you. Filing a robust claim is essential for adequately addressing the losses and trauma you have incurred due to the accident.
Settlement or Trial
Most car accident claims tend to settle out of court. However, if both parties cannot reach a fair agreement, the case may proceed to trial. In either scenario, a car accident attorney will represent your interests, whether that means negotiating a fair settlement or presenting a compelling case before a judge and jury.
This stage is often the culmination of your Long Island car accident claim. During the settlement negotiations or trial, your attorney will argue and present evidence to help you secure the compensation you deserve for medical expenses, loss of income, and other damages.
Don’t Underestimate the Risks of Driver Fatigue
Driver fatigue is a significant concern that poses a real risk to everyone on the road. Though the laws in New York may not specifically address fatigue, you have options for legal recourse if you’ve been involved in an accident caused by a fatigued driver.
Seeking the assistance of a qualified car accident attorney can make all the difference in your Long Island car accident claim. If you or a loved one has been affected by a car accident involving driver fatigue, contact The Law Offices of Joseph J. Perrini, III. Our team is committed to helping you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
Let’s work together to make New York roads safer for everyone by addressing the risks of driver fatigue seriously. Don’t become another statistic; be alert, stay rested, and always prioritize safety on the road.