New Yorkers lead a busy life with job responsibilities, household responsibilities, maintaining fitness through exercise, and attending various social and community events. Such a busy schedule can interfere with the body’s need for sleep and this can lead to problems with driver fatigue. Driving while one is tired can lead to distraction as the mind shuts down and before the driver realizes it, he or she has simply dozed off.
New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles records show that in 2011, fatigued drivers caused 1,290 accidents. However, New York isn’t the only state that struggles with drowsy driving. One neighboring states actually passed a law that enables prosecutors to file a vehicular homicide charge against tired drivers who are found running on no sleep for 24 hours or more.
The problem lies in drivers’ ability to determine that they too tired to drive. When people are traveling, there is a subconscious belief that if they simply consume more caffeine or raise the volume of their car’s stereo that they can offset the fatigue. This may have been the case for three brothers from Utica who were traveling to a soccer event in another state two summers ago. One of the brothers fell asleep while driving and caused an accident that killed five people, including two of the driver’s brothers.
Choosing to drive when one is tired puts everyone at risk and can generate consequences that are long lasting. Victims of fatigued drivers often face long roads of recovery and some may have permanent disability as a result of the collision. These victims may want to consider pursuing the driver in a court of law in order to obtain compensation for their loss of income, medical bills and pain and suffering.
Source: Utica Observer-Dispatch, “Drowsy driving opening some eyes,” Amy Neff Roth, Jan. 15, 2013