The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ September focus on drowsy driving is an important reminder of the risks as we head into the autumn travel season.
“Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is a sobering reminder that falling asleep at the wheel has deadly consequences and is preventable,” said Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “We urge all motorists to take responsibility and never drive drowsy.”
The agency partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Trucking Association, and AAA.
Tired Drivers Increase Risks in SWFL
Our veteran personal injury attorneys know autumn is the deadliest time of year for these collisions. Early darkness, young drivers on the road to and from college, and the start of the holiday travel season, combine to make sleepy drivers a real risk to all motorists on the road.
The COVID pandemic has also prompted more people to drive long distances. And safety advocates are paying particular attention to getting the word out to the nation’s overworked long-distance truck drivers and urban delivery drivers.
Florida’s campaign offers safety tips for all motorists to prevent drowsy driving and Arrive Alive at their destinations:
- Avoid driving when you would normally be asleep. Get enough rest before you drive.
- Take a break every 100 miles or two hours. Allow plenty of time to travel to your destination.
- If you start feeling tired while driving, pull over in a safe place and take a nap if you can.
- Use the “buddy system” and switch drivers when needed.
- Be careful with medication. Do not operate a motor vehicle after taking medications which cause drowsiness.
Liability for Drowsy Driving Collisions
Identifying driver drowsiness is notoriously difficult in the aftermath of a serious or fatal collision. The vast majority of identified cases involve drivers who leave the roadway after falling asleep. But head-on collisions prove the deadliest.
A study by the AAA Foundation for Highway Safety found more than 325,000 drowsy driving collisions occur annually — three times more than are reported by law enforcement. More than 100,000 motorists a year are seriously injured and about 6,500 are killed in traffic collisions involving a drowsy driver.
Even when driver’s don’t fall asleep, studies continue to show sleep deprivation has an impact on driving ability similar to being legally drunk, including delayed reaction times, longer decision times and lagging reflexes. Even more alarmingly, sleep can come in an instant and result in either roadway departure or head-on collision.
An experienced injury law firm can review the facts and circumstances of an accident far more thoroughly than can be done at the scene of a crash. A driver’s cellphone records and schedule in the 24 hours leading up to the crash can have a significant impact when it comes to determining liability. In cases where more than one party is found at fault, or where multiple causes are determined to be factors in causation, having an experienced law firm is even more critical.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.