Houston Drowsy Driving Car Accidents
Were you injured in a car accident with an overly tired or drowsy driver in Houston? While we’ve all felt tired at one time or another, it is crucial to get adequate rest before attempting to drive.
Unfortunately, drowsy driving is a significant problem in Texas. Studies indicate that the drowsiest drivers in the nation are right here in the Lone Star State, and it is costing people their health and their lives.
If a drowsy or fatigued driver has injured you in a car crash, contact The Callahan Law Firm immediately. Our seasoned Houston personal injury lawyers have more than 25 years of experience fighting for the rights of injury victims in Houston, Texas. We know that the pursuit of justice is not always easy, but with hard work and aggressive representation, we can help you seek the financial recovery you need to rebuild your life and move on from this accident.
For a free case evaluation, call us, chat with us live, or fill out a contact form now.
What Is Drowsy Driving and Why Is It Dangerous?
Drowsy driving happens when a motorist gets behind the wheel without an adequate amount of rest. In general, adults need approximately seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Failing to get enough sleep can result in a person becoming overtired, fatigued, and unable to function normally.
Drowsy driving is dangerous because a lack of sleep can have the same impact on the body as consuming alcohol. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that being awake for 18 hours is comparable to having a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent. Twenty-four hours without sleep is the equivalent of having a BAC of 0.10 percent, which is well over the legal limit.
Sleep deprivation slows reaction times, impacts vision, impairs decision-making, and results in unsafe and risky behaviors. Not to mention, being sleep-deprived increases the risk that a motorist will fall asleep behind the wheel.
Because drowsy drivers often fail to take evasive actions like braking or swerving before impact, a fatigued driving accident can result in severe injuries. Fatal accidents are tragically common when drowsy driving is involved. Grieving families may be entitled to bring a wrongful death action against the other driver in these situations.
When Do Most Drowsy Driving Accidents Occur?
Drowsy driving accidents can happen at any time. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that most drowsy driving accidents occur between midnight and 6 a.m. Drowsy driving accidents also frequently happen during the late afternoon. A person’s circadian rhythm, or natural sleep-wake cycle, typically experiences a natural dip during these times. The dip makes a person more prone to feeling tired or sleepy.
Why Might Someone Drive While Sleepy?
There are several reasons that a person may choose to drive while sleepy or fatigued. Sometimes driving while drowsy results from poor decision-making, while other times, people may feel forced to drive when they are not fully alert.
Some of the most common reasons that motorists drive while sleepy include:
- Commercial drivers on tight deadlines
- Shift workers
- Drivers taking medication that makes them drowsy
- Drivers with undiagnosed sleeping disorders like sleep apnea
- Business travelers
- Teenage drivers staying awake too long
Liability for Car Crashes Involving Overly Tired Drivers
Texas assigns liability for motor vehicle accidents based on a modified comparative fault system. This system stipulates that the individual most at fault for causing a car accident should be responsible for compensating victims of the crash. It also specifies that the amount of compensation a victim can receive following a crash is dependent on the amount of responsibility they bear for contributing to the wreck.
In practice, the rule works by allowing a jury to hear evidence in a car accident case. Based on the evidence, they will decide what percentage of fault to assign to each driver. If a victim is found to be 10 percent at fault for causing the accident, they can receive the amount awarded, minus 10 percent. In a modified comparative fault state, it is also important to note that anyone found to be more than 50 percent responsible for causing an accident would be unable to recover any form of compensation.
The modified comparative negligence model binds the decisions of courts. However, it also guides how an insurance adjuster will value a claim. Victims wanting to recover a fair settlement following a collision with a drowsy driver should consult with an experienced Houston car accident attorney about the circumstances of their case.
How to Prevent Drowsy Driving
The best way to prevent drowsy driving accidents from happening is to avoid getting behind the wheel if you feel tired or are sleep-deprived. If you are already on the road and start feeling drowsy, find a safe place to pull over and take a 20-minute nap to refresh yourself. Playing loud music or rolling down the windows rarely helps drivers stay awake.
Consider these other tips for avoiding drowsy driving:
- Get enough sleep.
- Stick to a sleep schedule.
- If you feel tired during the day or frequently wake up at night, talk to a doctor about possible undiagnosed sleep disorders.
- Plan your route and frequent stops ahead of time.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Avoid medications that make you drowsy or warn against driving.
Caffeine is a stimulant that may help you remain awake in the short term but use caution. Caffeine wears off and can make you feel even more tired.
Drowsy Driving Statistics in Houston
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that at least 1 in 25 U.S. drivers has fallen asleep while driving in the past 30 days. In addition, the National Safety Council reports that drivers who are drowsy or fatigued are three times more likely to be involved in a car accident.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 697 people were killed in fatigued driving accidents in just one recent year across the U.S. Unfortunately, Texas leads the way in the number of fatalities recorded on its roadways. One study found that in one year, Texas had 159 sleep-related fatalities. Alabama came in at number two, with 43 sleep-related crash fatalities.
Similar studies have found that drivers on Texas interstates and highways are most likely to be involved in fatal drowsy driving crashes.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Houston for Help
Drowsy driving doesn’t just endanger the driver. Driver fatigue puts everyone on the road at risk. If a drowsy driver injured you, know that you have rights and legal options. Contact a Houston car accident lawyer at The Callahan Law Firm to discuss the specifics of your case with one of our skilled team members today.
Our consultations are always free. When you hire us, you won’t pay us anything unless and until we win your case. Call our office, chat with us live, or fill out a contact form for your free consultation right away.