Drowsy driving is a suspected cause of many North Carolina accidents, but the actual number of wrecks caused by a negligent driver asleep at the wheel has been hard to come by for several reasons. Thanks to a study sponsored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there is now a better understanding of the risks presented by this behavior.
Official accident reports vary by location, but they all include such common things as use of safety restraints, speeding and intoxication of drivers. Many do not include a specific box for officers to check off whether a driver was drowsy. Due to lack of training, even officers that do have this available on the report generally have to rely on participant statements.
The study utilized a variety of reports and the results of accident investigation teams trained to detect drowsy drivers after a car collision. Drowsy drivers were found to have been involved in approximately 21 percent of fatal accidents in the United States between 2009 and 2013. Drowsiness was a factor in 13 percent of accidents involving hospitalization, and less than 10 percent for both non-hospitalized injuries and those accidents where a car was towed.
A negligent driver who causes an accident can inflict severe pain and financial hardship on victims. In many cases, the proposed settlement offered by the driver's insurance company does not sufficiently cover the combined costs of lost wages, medical expenses and recovery needs after a serious injury. In such an event, it may be advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney to determine whether filing a civil lawsuit against the responsible motorist would be an advisable alternative.