Drowsy Driving: Experts Have Few Solutions

Our last post looked at the disturbing frequency of fatal drowsiness-related crashes in America. More than 11,000 people died as a result of drowsy driving between 2000 and 2010. Unfortunately, this statistic shows no signs of improving in the near future, in large part because experts have very few effective ways of combating drowsy drivers.

At a glance, drowsy driving is similar to distracted or drunk driving. All three involve serious impairments to an otherwise-competent person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. However, unlike texting or drinking, falling asleep behind the wheel often leaves no evidence. Police officers cannot review a driver’s phone records or analyze a blood sample to prove that an accident involved drowsiness.

So although lawmakers can and do pass laws to deter these accidents, it is very hard to actually hold drivers accountable.

A second drowsiness-related problem involves commercial drivers. Many employers encourage professional drivers like truckers to work long hours under monotonous conditions. Federal regulators and other authorities have taken aggressive steps to prevent these practices. But here, again, the problem is one of enforcement. It is difficult to determine whether a company or employee is violating these rules.

Anyone who was injured in a car accident that may have involved drowsy driving should consider consulting with an experienced personal injury law firm.

Source: ABC News, “Drowsy Driving Remains an Elusive Highway Dilemma,” Frank Eltman, May 11, 2013