Drunk driving and drowsy driving can lead to collisions with severe consequences. Drunk driving claimed the lives of 10,511 people in the U.S. In 2018, according to the National Highway Transportation Highway Association, that breaks down to 30 deaths a day, and one every 50 minutes. A personal injury attorney may be able to investigate fault and insurance coverage, assess a potential injury claim. Expert witnesses may need to be consulted.
It is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, a small amount of alcohol can affect driving ability. In 2018, there were 1,878 people killed in alcohol-related crashes where drivers had lower alcohol levels, with BACs of .01 to .07.
Alcohol is dangerous when mixed with driving as it reduces the function of the brain, impairing thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination. Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the U.S. involve drunk drivers with BACs of .08 or higher.
Drunk driving can also cause drowsy driving, which killed 795 people in the U.S. In 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 91,000 police reported motor vehicle crashes involving drowsy driving. These crashes led to an estimated 50,000 people injured.
Precise numbers of drowsy-driving crashes, injuries, and fatalities are difficult to determine. Tallies of drowsy driving related crashes and injuries are reliant on police and hospital reports. Crash investigators can look for clues that drowsiness contributed to a crash, but these clues are not always identifiable.
The following factors are commonly associated with drowsy driving crashes:
- They frequently occur between midnight and 6 a.m., or in the late afternoon when people experience dips in their circadian rhythm.
- They often involve a single driver with no passengers, with the vehicle running off the road at a high rate of speed with no evidence of braking.
- They frequently occur on rural roads and highways.
Drivers are advised to be well rested before getting behind the wheel and to avoid alcohol or any medications that may affect alertness. Following a crash, a serious injuries lawyer like one from the Law Office of Paul Englander, PLC, can look into potential negligence claims, claims for injuries, medical bills, and economic losses, since the crash and in the future. There should be no fees for a consultation, there should be no fees unless a settlement is obtained. Litigation may be necessary to attempt to obtain a more favorable settlement or verdict.