Every year, at least 1,500 people die and at least 40,000 people are injured in car crashes that involve drowsy drivers. There are an estimated 100,000 collisions each year because drivers stay behind the wheel when they are too tired to do so safely. While these statistics are alarming, they unfortunately may not reflect the total number of injuries and fatalities due to tiredness because a driver’s fatigue is not always included in police reports. Nonetheless, it clear that drowsy driving is a serious safety threat on the streets and highways of New York and New Jersey.
If you have been the victim of a drowsy driver in the NY / NJ metro area, the experienced accident attorneys at Ginarte, O’Dwyer, Gonzalez, Gallardo, Verchick & Winograd, L.L.P., can help you get the justice you deserve. With over 150 years of combined experience, our personal injury lawyers have protected the rights of countless accident victims in New York and New Jersey.
Call 1-888-GINARTE (1-888-446-2783) now, fill out our online contact form, or visit one of our seven nearby offices in Newark, New York City, Union City, Elizabeth, Clifton or Perth Amboy today. Remember, there is no charge to talk with our accident lawyers and we collect fees only if you win your case!
New York and New Jersey Drowsy Driving Laws
Lawmakers in both New York and New Jersey are taking steps to combat drowsy driving within their borders. Under New Jersey laws, a driver who has been deprived of sleep for 24 hours and is driving recklessly can be classified in the same category as an intoxicated driver.
In 2009 and again 2011, New York introduced a bill that would make driving while fatigued a Class A misdemeanor. This equates driving while fatigued to vehicular assault in the second degree. A driver who causes vehicular homicide due to being fatigued can be charged with a Class E felony and is subject to a prison term and up to three years of license revocation.
Causes and Signs of Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving is a real danger on our roads. People who decide to operate a motor vehicle even though they are sleep-deprived or mentally exhausted can cause serious injuries and deadly accidents.
Drowsy driving accidents can happen at any time, but the risk of being involved in a fatigue-related car crash peaks at certain hours of the day. The greatest number of sleepy drivers are on the road between 1 and 4 in the afternoon and 2 and 6 in the morning.
People who work late shifts, take care of young children, or manage stressful schedules are all at particular risk for driving while fatigued. Even a temporary change in sleeping habits, like “pulling an all-nighter studying,” can cause someone to be a danger on the road.
Key signs indicating a driver is too tired to drive include:
- Excessive yawning,
- Inability to keep eyes open and head raised,
- Inability to recall the last few miles traveled,
- Drifting out of the lane, and
- Hitting rumble strips.
If you experienced any of these signs, you should pull off the road and stop driving or switch drivers. Once you are safely off the road, it is important to rest before driving again. Napping is much more effective than opening the window, turning the radio up, or drinking coffee to stay awake. It takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to take effect and the jolt of energy is just temporary.
One survey revealed that 62% of American adults admitted that they have driven without enough rest, so alert and well-rested drivers should also be aware of the behavior of drowsy drivers in the cars around them.
Recovering Compensation After an NY / NJ Drowsy Driving Accident
Drowsy driving can result in tragic accidents and in addition to the significant medical bills and lost income, other overwhelming expenses are likely to pile up quickly after a serious car crash. Victims who are seriously injured due to another driver’s decision to drive while drowsy often feel unable to cope with all of the consequences.
Fortunately, there is a solution for accident victims — a personal injury claim. By filing such a claim, an accident victim could be able to recover compensation for harm caused by the accident, including the pain and suffering. The experienced accident attorneys at Ginarte, O’Dwyer, Gonzalez, Gallardo, Verchick & Winograd, L.L.P., can help you get the justice you deserve from the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company. With over 150 years of combined experience, our personal injury lawyers have protected the rights of countless accident victims in New York and New Jersey.