Drivers who are fatigued or drowsy pose deadly threats to other road users. The National Sleep Foundation reports that about 50% of drivers nationwide, including in Michigan, admit to frequent driving while they feel drowsy. More frightening is the estimated 20% of drivers who say they have fallen asleep while driving at least once. These drivers seem to miss the fact that the resulting vehicle accidents also put their lives on the line.
According to authorities, drowsy or fatigued driving is comparable to drunk driving. The longer they have gone without sleep, the more their hazard awareness, concentration abilities and reaction times are impaired. Driving after being awake for 20 hours is as dangerous as driving while driving blood-alcohol concentration of .08, which is the benchmark in Michigan regarding most DUIs.
Fatigue is not easily identified, and the fact that some drivers do not realize they are fatigued exacerbates the problem. Drowsy drivers can experience short periods of involuntary inattention, also known as micro-sleeps. They might regard it as insignificant because it lasts for seconds only. However, in those four or five seconds, driving at typical highway speed can cover a distance equal to the length of a football field. Considering what could happen in those few seconds should be enough to stop drowsy driving, yet fatigued drivers continue to cause fatal accidents.
Victims of vehicle accidents in Michigan caused by drowsy drivers are typically entitled to pursue financial relief. However, proving that the driver deemed at fault was drowsy is complicated, and should not be tackled without the support and guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney. Legal counsel can establish negligence and assist with documenting financial and other damages before presenting the claim in the court.