Drowsy driving is now being called an “epidemic,” with more than 300,000 motor vehicle crashes occurring annually because of fatigued motorists. These collisions cause an estimated 6,400 fatalities each year. The scope of the crash rate and the number of deaths led panelists at a recent forum held at the Harvard School of Public Health to warn that we can no longer afford to take baby steps in dealing with the distracted driving crisis.
Drivers need to be aware of the risks of driving when they are tired, and should ensure that they make smart choices like stopping to rest when they find themselves dozing off or unable to pay attention.
If a motorist is too tired and continues to drive, this negligent decision could make him responsible for the serious consequences of his actions. This means victims could potentially pursue a case against the fatigued driver with the help of an Atlanta drowsy driving accident attorney.
An Epidemic of Atlanta Drowsy Driving Accidents
Huffington Post reported on the concerns of the experts at Harvard. The panel forum at which the experts spoke was called Asleep at the Wheel. Those on the panel included the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; a sleep researcher from Harvard; and the person who founded the Designated Driver campaign in the 1980s and 1990s which was used to significantly reduce impaired driving.
The experts believe there is no longer time to take baby steps, but that we must change the way we live as sleep deprivation is an overall problem in modern life that causes many health issues. Not only is it potentially deadly to drive while tired, but the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are all affected by not getting enough sleep.
Panelists at the Asleep at the Wheel forum discussed different policy measures which could potentially help to reduce the chances of driving while fatigued. For example, some options discussed included modeling new laws on regulations that currently exist in some states and that limit the hours young drivers can be on the road. Driverless cars were floated as a possible solution; however, thousands more people may die while waiting for this technology to evolve and to become available to the masses.
Although the expert panelists didn’t come up with a definitive solution, all agreed that regulatory changes and efforts to alter behavior could be important in reducing distracted driving risks. Unfortunately, it is difficult to criminalize the practice of fatigued driving since there is no objective test which shows how tired someone is when behind the wheel. NHTSA has expanded its list of driving infractions to include drowsiness as a factor, though, so this does help to ensure motorists could be held accountable if it can be proved they were impaired by fatigue.
Getting Help from an Atlanta Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love was hurt by a fatigued driver, you need to be ready to prove the other motorist was unreasonably careless. If you can show you got hurt because the driver was negligent in continuing to operate the car when fatigued, you should be able to obtain compensation for losses.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent victims after a collision. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.