Drowsy drivers are much more likely to make errors behind the wheel and pose a danger to everyone they share the roads with in New Mexico. Drivers who are nodding off or asleep at the wheel cause many serious and fatal accidents every year. Drowsy drivers include motorists who get behind the wheel after too few hours of rest and drivers who stay at the wheel when dangerously fatigued and while fighting to stay awake.

Drowsy Driving Accidents in New Mexico

Attorney Bert Parnall and the legal team at Parnall Law Office are committed to helping people injured by drowsy drivers in Albuquerque and anywhere in Central New Mexico. As we pursue justice for the victims of fatigued drivers, our dedicated attorneys are guided by five guiding values: Team, Talent, Truth, Tenacity, Triumph. Parnall Law is committed to the highest quality of legal representation, so we offer a client satisfaction guarantee. If you are dissatisfied with the way we treat you and your case during the initial 30 days after hiring our law firm, then you may take your case file with no questions asked and no attorney fees.

The Parnall legal team has helped thousands of people injured by accidents and violence obtain compensation for their losses and move forward with their lives. If you have been hurt by a drowsy driver, call Bert! Let us discuss how we may assist you.

 

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Causes of Drowsy Driving

A drowsy driving accident is any crash in which a driver was reported by police as sleepy, asleep or fatigued.

Fatigued drivers have reduced alertness and impaired judgment and decision-making ability. They react more slowly to recognize dangerous situations and take evasive steering or braking actions or failure to yield increasing the chances of a crash.

Irregular work schedules are a contributing factor to crashes involving drowsy driving. Shift workers who work night schedules or alternate day and night shifts may have disrupted sleep patterns and be driving when they would normally be asleep. Workers who work long shifts also may be excessively fatigued and struggle to stay awake when driving.

Prescription drugs, certain over-the-counter medicines, and alcohol consumption may cause drowsiness and lead to a car crash. Drivers should understand the side effects of medications before taking a medication and operating a vehicle.

Untreated sleep disorders including sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy can cause excessive sleepiness during daytime hours.

Driver Fatigue Statistics in New Mexico

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates conservatively that drowsy drivers cause 100,000 crashes each year across the United States, leading to more than 71,000 injuries.

Drowsy driving is a factor in 9.5 percent of all auto accidents and 10.8 percent of crashes causing significant vehicle damage, according the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. AAA says its research, based on tracking more than 3,500 drivers with video cameras, indicates that the percentage of crashes involving drowsiness is nearly eight times higher than federal data suggest.

Drivers were more than three times as like to display signs of drowsiness leading to crashes during hours of darkness, the AAA researchers observed.

  • 21 percent of crashes in the U.S. involve a drowsy driver
  • 37 percent of adult drivers admit to having fallen asleep behind the wheel.

Drowsy Driving Prevention

Getting adequate sleep every day is the most effective way to reduce the likelihood of a drowsy driving accident.

Experts recommend that healthy adults get at least seven hours of sleep per 24-hour period.

Teens require more sleep and should get at least eight hours of sleep a day.

Develop good sleep habits by going to bed and getting up at the same times every day.

If you start feeling sleepy while driving, pull over at a safe location and take a break.

Sharing the driving duties with a passenger can help prevent crashes caused by drowsy driving.

Avoid consuming alcohol or taking medications that cause drowsiness if you are driving.

Drowsy Driving vs Drunk Driving

A drowsy driver can be as dangerous as a drunk driver, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Both fatigued driving and drunk driving make it hard to concentrate on the road and reduce a driver’s ability to make quick decisions.

The study said that drivers who are operating a vehicle on less than five hours of sleep display behaviors comparable to drunk drivers.

Lack of sleep has effects on the body similar to alcohol such as making it difficult to focus and impairing judgment and reaction time. A driver who nods off at the wheel may not brake before running off the road or drifting into an oncoming lane and causing a collision.

If you have been awake for 18 hours, the effects on your body are similar to having a blood alcohol level of .05 percent, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

The risk of crashing when driving on 4 to 5 hours of sleep is more than four times higher than for drivers who have gotten 7 hours of sleep. It is comparable to the risk of a crash as that of a drunk driver who is legally intoxicated.

If you have been awake 24 hours without sleep and drive, the effect on the body is similar to a blood alcohol level of .10 percent.

Signs of Fatigued Driving

The warning signs of fatigue and drowsy driving include:

  • Constant yawning
  • Heavy eyelids and frequent blinking
  • Head bobbing
  • Lack of memory of last several miles of driving
  • Driving past exits
  • Drifting out of a lane
  • Turning up the radio and rolling down windows to try to stay awake
  • Being startled by the sound of tires hitting rumble strip on sides of road.
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Truck Driver Fatigue

Fatigue is a contributing factor in up to half of commercial truck accidents. Truck drivers often cheat on their time sheets to avoid recording that they have been behind the wheel for too many hours. Some truckers take drugs to try to stay awake when they are dangerously fatigued. Drowsy truck drivers are a danger on the highways and should be held accountable when they cause crashes.

New Mexico Department of Transportation has made efforts to reduce fatigued driving accidents by installing rumble strips along highways wherever feasible, particularly along routes popular with truck drivers, and building more rest areas.

Commercial truck drivers who travel through New Mexico to other states hauling goods and making deliveries have restrictions on the number of hours they are allowed to drive each day and each week. The hours-of-service limits are intended to reduce fatigued driving and prevent drowsy driving accidents. Drowsy driving is a serious problem among truck drivers who cover thousands of miles each week.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a truck in New Mexico, you need a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to fight for full compensation for you.

Establishing a Drowsy Driving Accident Claim

If you have been seriously injured causing a spinal cord injury, knee injuries, scars or disfigurement,  brain injury, burns, broken bones, back or neck injuries, whiplash, or lost a loved one in a crash caused by a suspected drowsy driver in New Mexico, you need an experienced injury lawyer to investigate the accident to gather evidence showing the driver’s negligence.

Many drivers do not admit to police they were drowsy or asleep when a crash occurred. A lack of skid marks at the accident scene may show the driver did not try to brake before a collision because the driver was nodding off or asleep.

If the accident involved a commercial truck driver, Parnall Law will look for evidence of how many hours the driver had been on the road. Toll receipts, log books and traffic cameras may provide evidence to prove that the driver was operating a truck while excessively fatigued.

The drowsy driver’s insurance company may try to pressure you into accepting an unfair settlement if you try to pursue compensation on your own. If you do not have a lawyer who will fight for you, the insurer will try to take advantage of your situation while you are trying to recover from your injuries and may be experiencing financial stress.

The drowsy driver attorneys at Parnall Law will fight for maximum compensation from the insurance companies. Our attorneys are battle tested and seasoned negotiators who know how to deal with insurance companies.

Albuquerque Lawyers Dedicated to Helping People Injured by Drowsy Drivers

Parnall Law is ready to help you pursue all types of compensation allowed by law if you or your loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver. We are available to discuss the circumstances surrounding your fatigued driving accident and review your legal options. Call our office today at 505-268-6500 for a free consultation. You can also contact us using our online contact form.

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