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Drowsy driving is a longstanding and underreported problem

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

When people in Sonoma, Napa and across California think about potential dangers on the road, they will automatically consider drunk driving. It is a natural problem in the area given its prominence in the wine industry and the number of tourists who visit the area. Other common reasons for auto accidents with injuries and death are distraction, speeding, ignoring the rules of the road and general recklessness.

While these are frequently discussed with legislators, activists and law enforcement trying to work in unison to find ways to improve safety, another concern is again being discussed: drowsy driving. The topic is brought up when the clocks are changed for daylight saving time, but it is a year-round challenge that people should know about and take steps to mitigate. When there is an accident, it should also be assessed as to whether drowsiness was a factor as this can be critical when deciding on a strategy to recover for all that was lost.

Daylight saving time is often a factor in drowsy driving

There is ongoing debate as to whether moving the clocks an hour forward in the spring and backward in the fall is still necessary. In fact, there has been a movement to end the practice. That has not happened yet and people still need to change the clocks. This is believed to play a role in drowsy driving. So much so that California law enforcement is reminding motorists and others who take to the state roads that they need to be wary of drowsy drivers.

Several entities including the California Highway Patrol and the National Sleep Foundation dedicated the week of Nov. 6 to Nov. 12 to drowsy driving with its Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. People are “gaining” an hour of sleep they lost in the spring, but that does not necessarily mean they are getting more rest. The difference in their routine could cause them to be more tired than usual and it can inhibit their ability to drive safely.

Statistically, there were more than 11,000 drowsy driving auto accidents in the state between 2019 and 2020. More than 6,400 people were injured and 73 people lost their lives. The symptoms of drowsy driving are comparable to driving under the influence with reaction time reduced and judgment impaired.

Drowsiness should be investigated when seeking compensation

Auto accidents are always unfortunate. In some instances, they cannot be avoided and happen due to circumstance rather than the other driver’s negligence or wrongdoing. In many, there was a mistake made and this leads to the collision. Drowsy driving is one such mistake. People must be aware of whether this was a reason the crash occurred as they consider their options for the future.

Among the problems people mention when they have been in a crash or have lost a loved one are financial considerations to pay for medical care and long-term assistance; lost wages from the injured person being unable to work; and the need to adjust to a whole new situation.

This can happen to anyone regardless of their income, station in life, age and family situation. In some car accidents, people do not have obvious injuries and need to get medical treatment to assess underlying damage that might have happened. This is especially true with traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage and soft tissue injuries.

To address the concerns that inevitably come up, it is imperative to have professional advice from the beginning. Consulting with professionals who are experienced in car accidents, know how to investigate them, can gather evidence and move forward with a potential legal claim is important.