Personal Injury


Drowsy Driving in California

  • Jan 17 2014
  • Gilleon Law Firm, APC

If a motor vehicle accident occurs and police suspect it was caused by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, police can conduct a chemical test to confirm that assumption. If police believe that a driver was texting and driving when a crash occurred, cell phone records can prove or disprove that accident theory. However, if police estimate that drowsy driving caused a car crash, it is extremely difficult to prove it.

The statistics reflect the difficulty

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics from 2009 reveal that two-and-a-half percent of fatal motor vehicle crashes and two percent of all accidents were caused by drowsy driving. The American Automobile Association reports that 16.5 percent of deadly traffic accidents and 12.5 percent of injury-causing crashes were caused by drowsy driving in 2010. The huge disparity in statistics reflects the difficulty in proving that drowsiness caused the traffic accident.

Attempts to combat the problem

Although the statistics may be all over the place, there is a general consensus that drowsy driving is a major problem. New Jersey passed “Maggie’s Law,” which permits prosecutors to introduce evidence that the driver who allegedly caused the accident was awake for 24 consecutive hours to show recklessness. Massachusetts entertained a comparable law, but opted to allocate money for education and new rumble strips on the side of roads. Federal regulations restrict how many hours commercial vehicle drivers may drive without a quality rest break. Drivers of tractor-trailers must stop after 11 consecutive hours in one day. Drivers of buses or other passenger carriers can only drive 10 hours a day under federal regulations.

Signs of drowsy driving

Researchers studying sleep reveal that the following are signs of drowsiness:

  • Daydreaming
  • Memory lapses
  • Unable to keep your eyes open and focused
  • Lane drifting

An experienced Southern California auto accident attorney may be able to use such signs to show that a drowsy driver caused the auto accident that injured you. Contact us for a free consultation.

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