A worrying number of drivers in New Jersey and around the country admit to regularly getting behind the wheel despite being dangerously fatigued even though they know that behaving in this way can be extremely dangerous. After analyzing video footage of drivers filmed just before they were involved in serious accidents, the American Automobile Association determined that almost 10% of them crashed because they were drowsy. Another study from the National Sleep Foundation concluded that 24 hours without sleep impairs motorists as much as having a blood alcohol concentration of .10%. That would be enough to result in a drunk driving charge in every state.
One of the problems facing police departments and road safety advocacy groups is that drowsy driving is surrounded by myths and misunderstandings. Many motorists become fatigued toward the end of long journeys and think that opening a window, drinking a cup of coffee or turning up the stereo will help them to remain alert until they reach their destinations. Doctors know that this is not true.
Sleep experts say that adequate rest is the only known treatment for fatigue, and they urge drivers to plan long trips carefully and include several rest breaks. They also advise motorists who will be driving through the night to get plenty of rest before setting off. Signs that a rest is long overdue include weaving between lanes, driving over roadside rumble strips and missing a highway exit or road sign.
Experienced personal injury attorneys may seek to have the vehicles involved in car accidents inspected when drowsiness could have played a role. This is because the electronics systems of most modern cars feature black box-type devices that keep track of driver behavior. Attorneys could also use subpoenas to obtain the medical records of suspected drowsy divers to find out if they could have been under the influence of drugs like Lunesta or Ambien.