Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds is a tremendous responsibility, and every driver owes a duty of care to others around them. This duty includes operating the vehicle safely within the parameters laid forth under Arizona traffic laws. However, drivers operating while fatigued behind the wheel present an incredible risk to themselves and others on the roadway around them.
Drowsy Driving is Dangerous Driving in Arizona
Information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that there were 684 deaths from drowsy driving-related accidents in 2021. Information presented by the National Safety Council indicates that one out of every 25 adult drivers have reported falling asleep behind the wheel and that a significant amount of individuals admit to driving while sleep-deprived.
Unfortunately, distracted driving leads to a significant number of injuries each year, but the good news is that drowsy driving is preventable.
Exact numbers of drowsy driving crashes, injuries, and fatalities are hard to calculate. Every state has different types of codes they use to indicate the causes of each collision, and not every state has specific codes for drowsy driving. Additionally, many people simply do not admit to drowsy driving after an incident occurs, leading to skewed numbers.
The NHTSA did estimate that in 2017, there were around 91,000 police-reported incidents involving drowsy drivers. The agency states that these incidents led to approximately 50,000 injuries and approximately 800 deaths.
When Do Drowsy Driving Incidents Occur
Drowsy driving collisions can occur at any time of day, but, according to the NHTSA, are more likely to happen between midnight and 6:00 AM or in the late afternoon. At these times of day, individuals experience changes in their circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal clock that regulates sleep.
These incidents also typically involve only one driver with no passengers, and they often culminate in the driver running off the road at a high rate of speed with no evidence of braking, likely because they were falling asleep or already asleep behind the wheel. Additionally, our experienced team of Phoenix car accident attorneys have seen these incidents often occurring on rural roadways or highways, likely due to the monotonous nature of the drive, lulling a driver to sleep.
Serious Injuries and Property Damage Are Likely to Occur
Drowsy driving incidents are likely to lead to major injuries and property damage for those involved. This includes not only the individual who caused the crash by operating while fatigued but also those inside other vehicles, bystanders, and property near the roadway.
Individuals who sustain injuries as a result of the actions of a drowsy driver will almost certainly file a claim against the negligent driver to recover compensation for their losses. Drowsy driving can have significant financial consequences on the at-fault individual. Additionally, even if an insurance carrier pays out a claim, it is likely that the monthly or annual premiums will rise for the insurance plan if the insurance company does not drop the policyholder altogether.
Drowsy driving crashes can affect a person’s health and well-being as well as their financial health.
Working With an Attorney
If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the actions of a drowsy driver, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney immediately. A skilled Phoenix personal injury attorney can help walk you through this process, assist with filing your claim, and handle negotiations with insurance carriers.