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Driver Fatigue May Be the Cause of Automobile Collisions


Fatigue or a state of tiredness can adversely affect physical and mental performance, especially when driving. Behind the wheel, fatigue can make drivers less attentive on the road, impair their motor skills and reflexes, affect driving decisions, and decrease reaction time such as when applying the brakes or steering to avoid hitting objects or persons on the road.

In the U.S., an estimated 10% to 30% of all car collisions are attributed to driver fatigue. This dangerous combination of driving while being tired, sleepy, or exhausted can lead to catastrophic injuries in automobile collisions.

Factors Behind Driver Fatigue

Various factors can cause driver fatigue. These include:

  • The amount of time a driver has been awake, usually beyond 17 hours
  • The time of day
  • The level of physical or mental activity at the time of driving
  • The quantity and quality of sleep obtained before operating a vehicle
  • Sleep disorders such as narcolepsy
  • Consuming medicine that may have a sedative effect

Who Are at Risk?

While anyone may suffer from driver fatigue, certain groups of people have a higher risk of becoming fatigued on the road. These are:

  • Shift workers and those working the night shift or extended hours
  • Business travelers, particularly those crossing different time zones or experiencing jet lag
  • Commercial truck drivers
  • Young or inexperienced drivers
  • Drivers with untreated sleep disorders
  • Drivers under medication that can cause drowsiness

Signs of Driver Fatigue

Many drivers who are exhausted exhibit certain signs of fatigue such as:

  • Yawning frequently
  • Missing their exit or turn
  • Drifting from one’s lane
  • Hitting a rumble strip on the road

Consequences of Driver Fatigue

Fatigue often impairs the way a person mentally processes situations and his ability to decide a course of action. Many tired drivers can lapse into a light sleep without realizing it. Even a few seconds of nodding on the road can increase a driver’s risk of crashing particularly when faced with a stop signal or when crossing an intersection or navigating a turn.

When a driver is fatigued, his vehicle may depart from the driving lane and collide with another object such as another vehicle or a pedestrian on a crosswalk or sidewalk. Commercial truck drivers who are known to travel long distances for extended hours and who go without sleep are often involved in multiple-vehicle collisions on highways, resulting in severe and even fatal injuries as well as significant property damage.

If you or a family member is seriously injured in a car crash involving a tired or fatigued driver, you may be concerned about receiving compensation for medical expenses and other financial damages you may have sustained as a result of the crash. Consult an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney about your situation.

Importance of Personal Injury Lawyer

Catastrophic crashes are often complex cases involving several factors including driver fatigue. An experienced attorney can examine all the angles of a collision to determine the cause or causes and to identify the party or parties responsible for the crash.

Your lawyer can take steps to:

  • Preserve the evidence
  • Contact witnesses and obtain their written statements
  • Engage an expert who can reconstruct the incident and provide important testimony on the cause or causes of the crash
  • Help injured parties obtain medical treatment from appropriate health services providers
  • File the necessary documents and prepare all the paperwork needed to establish the injury claim

Dealing With Insurance Companies

An injured party may seek compensation from the insurance company of the responsible party or from one’s own coverage. The problem with dealing with insurance adjusters and other personnel of the insurance company is their tendency to deny or minimize the value of injury claims, effectively depriving an injured party the chance to fully recover from a crash. An experienced lawyer can handle the negotiations with the insurance company with the objective of receiving the maximum value of compensation that is due under the circumstances.

When the other party is uninsured or underinsured, the injured party’s lawyer can also examine the injured party’s own insurance policy for a clause that allows recovery in this type of situation.

If the insurance company fails to settle with the injured party, the personal injury attorney can bring the case before the appropriate court within the period prescribed for filing personal injury lawsuits.

In Las Vegas, Nevada, the car accident lawyers at Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen have the combined skill and experience to help injured persons and their families recover the compensation that they deserve. Our firm is prepared to fight for your right to receive compensation in settlements and courtroom verdicts. We welcome your call to us today at (702) 505-8115 to arrange for a free consultation.

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