Alabama Drowsy Driving Accidents | Belt, Bruner & Barnett Personal Injury Lawyers

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Alabama Drowsy Driving Accidents

Drowsy driving, which refers to operating a motor vehicle while tired or sleepy, is a leading cause of thousands of car accidents annually. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1 in 25 adults aged 18 or older has reported falling asleep at the wheel in the past 30 days.

This is a serious concern, as drowsy driving not only increases the risk of falling asleep at the wheel but also impairs a driver’s attention, reaction time, and decision-making. Despite the known dangers, there are still an average of 28,000 drowsy-driving accidents every year. Our drowsy driving accident attorneys are here to help those who have been affected by a drowsy driving accident in Alabama.

At Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C., our Alabama car accident attorneys understand the devastating impact that drowsy driving can have on individuals and families. We are here to help. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident caused by a fatigued driver, please do not hesitate to contact us today at 205-933-1500.



Drowsy Driving Accident Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), drowsy driving accidents resulted in 846 deaths in 2014 alone. It is estimated that drowsy driving is responsible for an annual average of 886 deaths and more than 37,000 injuries. However, that number is likely higher given that clues about the cause of a crash are not always readily apparent or conclusive.

Based on estimates from the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety drowsy driving contributes to as many as 1.2 million collisions, resulting in an annual average of 109,000 injury crashes and 6,400 fatal crashes. The typical characteristics of drowsy driving accidents include:

  • Most likely to occur between midnight and 6 am or in the late-afternoon
  • More likely to be serious or severe. One in five fatal crashes involves drowsy driving
  • Vehicle leaves the roadway–more than 50 percent of drowsy driving accident involves drivers veering out of their lanes or off the roadway
  • More likely to occur on high-speed rural roads or highways
  • Driver is alone in the vehicle
  • Alcohol can also play a factor in drowsy driving accidents

Common Causes of Drowsy Driving

According to sleep experts, adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep daily to maintain optimal health. However, data from the CDC shows that a significant portion of adults fail to meet this recommendation, with up to 35% sleeping less than 7 hours and 12% sleeping less than 5 hours per day. This sleep insufficiency is not only linked to numerous health issues, but also plays a major role in Alabama drowsy driving accidents.

A recent study found that individuals who get less than 7 hours of sleep in the past 24 hours have a significantly increased risk of being involved in a vehicle crash due to inattentiveness. Furthermore, those who sleep for less than 4-5 hours in the past 24 hours are substantially impaired and have a crash rate four times higher. This level of impairment is similar to driving with a blood alcohol content of .08.

Aside from insufficient sleep, drowsy driving can also be caused by the following:
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Untreated or unrecognized sleep disorder (e.g. sleep apnea, insomnia, or narcolepsy)
  • Sedating medications

Signs and Symptoms of Drowsy Driving

Some of the warning signs of drowsy driving include:

  • Yawning regularly
  • Blinking frequently
  • Hitting rumble strips
  • Crossing over roadway lines or drifting from your lane
  • Difficulty focusing, keeping your head up or eye open
  • Difficulty recalling the last few miles/minutes driven
  • Driving past your exit or missing traffic signals
  • Daydreaming
  • Feelings of restlessness or irritability

The groups of people that are more at-risk for drowsy driving are:

  • Drivers, especially males, ages 16 to 24 require more sleep on average and are nearly twice as likely to be drowsy at the time of an accident
  • Shift workers– usually work overnight and have long/irregular work schedules
  • Commercial drivers
  • Drivers with untreated sleep disorders–It is estimated that more than 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder
  • Drivers who use sedating medications
  • Business travelers who often suffer from jet lag and lack of sleep

Contact an Experienced Alabama Car Accident Lawyer For Help

When a sleep-deprived driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, the consequences can be devastating. If you or a loved one have been injured in a drowsy driving accident, contact the Alabama car accident lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. for help.

Our Alabama car accident attorneys have more than 65 years of collective personal injury experience and we will fight for the compensation you deserve. With the help of one of our skilled car accident lawyers, you may be able to recover compensation for your:

  • Medical costs
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Physical pain
  • Mental anguish
  • Physical impairment
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Property loss or damage

We pride ourselves on providing compassionate, professional, and knowledgeable representation to accident victims throughout Alabama and we advocate for the maximum compensation possible in every personal injury case.

Contact the Alabama personal injury law firm at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. today at 205-933-1500 to find out how our talented car accident lawyers can help. We offer a free consultation at no risk to you.

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