Consequences of Drowsy Driving in Pennsylvania

April 30, 2021

Drowsy driving accidents in Pittsburgh, PA

Drowsy driving represents one of the most serious risks of a motor vehicle accident in Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were 2,509 crashes attributed to driver drowsiness or fatigue in 2019, in addition to 12 crashes that resulted in fatalities. 

However, PennDOT notes that the true number of drowsy driving motor vehicle accidents is likely much higher, as accidents were only attributed to drowsy driving if a driver clearly exhibited a drowsy or fatigued condition at the scene of the crash.

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident where the other driver was drowsy or fatigued, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. 

Why Drowsy Driving is So Dangerous

Drowsy or fatigued driving is often considered just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Like driving under the influence, drowsy driving can affect a driver by:

  • Slowing a driver’s reaction times, making it more difficult for them to brake or swerve in time to avoid a collision
  • Reducing the driver’s attention
  • Impairing judgment, which can make a driver engage in careless or reckless decisions
  • Increasing the likelihood of falling asleep, including microsleep (brief periods of sleep lasting only a few seconds)

Risk Factors for Drowsy or Fatigued Driving

Certain factors and conditions can increase the chances that a driver will become drowsy or fatigued while behind the wheel, including:

  • Undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorders
  • Lack of sufficient quality sleep
  • Use of medications that can induce or increase drowsiness or fatigue
  • Driving for long periods of time
  • Driving during periods of natural tiredness, such as during the early morning hours and mid-afternoon hours

Signs that a driver may be drowsy or fatigued include:

  • Frequent blinking or yawning
  • Drifting across road lines or off the side of the road
  • Gradually slowing down only to speed back up, or inability to keep pace with traffic
  • Missing an exit
  • Difficulty remembering details from the past few minutes.

Oftentimes, people may assume that accidents caused by fatigued driving are less severe than those caused by a driver using their cell phone because fatigue is something that sometimes can’t be helped, whereas texting and driving is a choice. While we all suffer from moments of exhaustion, fatigued driving is just as severe as getting behind the wheel drunk or driving distracted. Fatigued driving is also just as actionable, meaning it provides sufficient reason for someone to take legal action. 

What You Can Be Compensated for If You Are Injured by a Drowsy Driver

Although can seem difficult to prove that the other driver in a motor vehicle accident was drowsy or fatigued at the time of the crash, there are pieces of evidence that can be used to show that an accident was caused by drowsy driving, including accident scene photos, eyewitness statements, medical records, or traffic/dashcam footage.

If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a drowsy or fatigued driver, you may be entitled to recover compensation for losses and expenses such as:

  • Medical treatments, including hospital bills, doctor’s appointments, surgeries, prescriptions, and medical or mobility equipment
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Home health care services
  • Lost income from missed work
  • Lost earning potential due to disabilities impacting your ability to return to your job
  • Physical pain and emotional distress caused by your injury and treatment
  • Loss of enjoyment of life due to physical disfigurement or disability from your injuries
  • Property damage, including costs to repair or replace your vehicle

Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Drowsy Driving Case in Pennsylvania

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a drowsy driving accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. represent clients injured because of drowsy driving accidents in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Western PA counties. Call (412) 766-1455 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3634 California Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.