In the summer of 2014, comedian Tracy Morgan was in a limo that was struck by a man driving a Wal-Mart truck. Morgan suffered serious injuries, and the driver of the truck has reportedly been awake for 28 hours prior to the accident. In an effort to prevent accidents related to drowsy driving, automakers are including warning systems which alert the driver to lane departure and forward collision.
Lane departure systems could reduce accidents involving vehicles that veer off the road by up to 40 percent. Forward warning systems could reduce rear-end collisions by as much as 10 percent. Each year, there are an estimated 7,500 fatal car crashes due to drowsy driving, and it is thought that 25 percent of all accidents involve a drowsy driver. However, this is hard to confirm because testing for drowsy driving at the time of an accident is not available.
Although anyone could find themselves drowsy or falling asleep while driving, there are some factors that make it more likely a driver will fall asleep behind the wheel. For instance, those who sleep less than six hours a night or those who have been awake for 24 hours or longer in a given day tend to doze off during the day and thus are at a higher risk. Those who have been awake for 24 hours consecutively have been shown to have similar impairment to someone with a BAC of .10 percent.
Those who are involved in a car accident may wish to talk to an attorney about their injuries from the accident. It might be possible to get compensation for lost wages, medical bills and other expenses related to the crash. It may also be possible to win punitive damages depending on the facts of the case, which could be awarded by a jury or in a settlement.