Drowsy driving accidents are far too common in New Mexico and throughout the United States. Many people don’t realize that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Getting behind the wheel of a moving vehicle without having had enough sleep increases the risk of a devastating car accident caused by drowsy driving.
Discuss Your Case with a New Mexico Drowsy Driving Accident Attorney
If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver, you need a skilled personal injury attorney on your side. You may be entitled to compensation for a personal injury lawsuit against the drowsy driver who caused your injuries. The personal injury attorneys at Hunt Law have helped many New Mexico clients recover the compensation they deserve after being injured in a drowsy driving accident. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
The Danger of Driving While Drowsy
Between work, parenting, and other obligations, many Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. Many drivers in the United States have chosen to drive while sleepy every day. Sometimes drivers may not realize how fatigued they are, or they may assume that they can still drive safely while fatigued. Driving after 20 hours with no sleep has the same effect on humans as having a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 percent, the legal definition of “under the influence” in New Mexico.
Drowsy driving reduces a driver’s reaction time, ability to recognize and react to changes on the row, and attention span. Driving while drowsy can also make it difficult for drivers to make safe decisions and increase the likelihood of being involved in a dangerous car accident. A driver doesn’t even need to fall asleep to put other drivers in danger.
Drowsy drivers may still be awake when driving, but they could still lose attention and focus on the road. For example, even a 4- to 5-second gap in conscious attention to driving at the highway speed can result in the driver traveling the length of a football field without being focused on driving. The following groups of people are more likely to be involved in car accidents caused by drowsy driving:
- Employees who work long shifts, especially night shift
- Drivers who take prescription medication that could make them drowsy
- Drivers with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
- College student
- Commercial truck drivers
Accidents Caused By Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck drivers operate some of the largest and heaviest commercial vehicles on the road. When drivers of tractor-trailers, buses, and tow trucks drive while drowsy, they put everyone else on the road at risk. Due to their large size, commercial vehicles are more likely to cause devastating injuries among occupants of passenger vehicles. The trucking industry is well-known for drivers logging dangerously long hours.
Federal regulations require truck drivers to take enough breaks to prevent them from driving while fatigued. For example, truck drivers are required to work no more than 60 hours every seven days, or 70 hours every 8 days. For every 11 driving hours or 14 hours on duty, they need to take out at least one 10 hour break. Additionally, they are required to take at least one 30 minute break for every 8 hours of driving or being on duty. Unfortunately, many truck drivers choose to ignore these rules or lie about how many breaks they take, putting others on the road in jeopardy.
If you have been injured by a drowsy driver, you will need to show that the drowsy driver’s negligence caused the car accident that resulted in your injuries. Drivers who choose to operate a motor vehicle while fatigued are driving negligently. Drowsy driving lawsuits can be challenging to prove because there is no objective test as to whether a person is too fatigued to drive.
When it comes to driving while intoxicated, we have breathalyzer tests and blood alcohol tests that can objectively determine how intoxicated a driver was at the time of the accident. There are no such tasks for drowsy driving. As a result, it’s imperative that you work with an inexperienced personal injury attorney who will thoroughly investigate your accident to determine what happened and gather evidence showing that the driver’s fatigue caused the accident.
The attorneys at Hunt Law have the experience needed to represent victims in fatigued driving cases. We will seek evidence that demonstrates that the at-fault driver knew or should have known that he or she didn’t have enough sleep to operate a vehicle safely but chose to get behind the wheel anyway.
One piece of evidence could be the lack of skid marks in the accident. When a driver fails to brake before the collision, it can indicate that the driver fell asleep at the wheel or was distracted and didn’t try to avoid the crash. Suppose a fatigued truck driver caused your accident. In that case, we will carefully review the truck driver’s logbooks and the onboard record to determine whether the driver took enough rest breaks or was driving while dangerously drowsy.
Damages Available in Drowsy Driving Accident Cases
A successful plaintiff in personal injury lawsuits is entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are easily quantifiable damages caused by the injuries from the car accident. Past and future medical bills, lost income, property damage, and durable medical equipment are all examples of economic damages. Successful plaintiffs are also entitled to non-economic damages for the pain and suffering they’ve entered due to their injuries. In some cases, New Mexico judges may award additional punitive damages.
Injured in a Drowsy Driving Accident? Contact a New Mexico Attorney
At Hunt Law, our skilled personal injury attorneys have a proven track record of successfully obtaining large settlements and verdicts on behalf of New Mexico car accident victims. We are prepared to discuss your drowsy driving accident claim and the legal options available to you. The sooner you reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney, the sooner you can begin pursuing compensation for your injuries. Contact Hunt Law today to schedule your free initial consultation.