Liability caused by falling asleep at the wheel

While everyone recognizes that driving drunk is dangerous, many people do not know that driving tired is fraught with almost as much danger. Many people are guilty of drowsy driving every day. Work, family, children, school, errands and every other demand from modern life is exhausting; there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. But, rather than sacrifice personal or social time, people sacrifice their rest time.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 80,000 accidents a year are caused by sleepy drivers. Furthermore, 846 people were killed in 2014 by drowsy drivers.

But, unfortunately, proving that someone was asleep or drowsy at the time of an accident is remarkably difficult. In fact, some states even require plaintiffs to prove that the at-fault driver was awake for 24 continuous hours before the crash. Accounting for the whereabouts of a person for an entire day is tough. Additionally, proving that the driver was asleep during the crash relies entirely on circumstantial evidence. You are forced to infer from the facts of the accident that the person must have been sleeping. For example, if a person drives into a crowd or veers into a lane, you can infer they were asleep because they did not attempt to apply the brakes, but you can never definitively prove it.

If you believe your loved one was killed by a drowsy driver, then you may want to speak to an attorney. Unfortunately, sleepy drivers still account for hundreds of fatal car accidents. It also does not appear that the demands of modern life will give anyone a breather to get some extra sleep.

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T.J. Smith, Attorney at Law
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