As you’re aware, every driver is responsible for keeping others safe on the road, and there are many ways that this duty can be breached. One of the most common is drowsy driving. If you have been the victim of a drowsy driver in Washington, you’ll want to know exactly how driving while tired can be considered an act of negligence.

The effect of drowsiness on drivers

Drowsiness, which results from lack of sleep, makes it harder for a driver to pay attention and make good judgments. It also slows down one’s reaction times. You can see how this sort of impairment is dangerous for a driver. Severe drowsiness leads to microsleep, which is a period of inattention that lasts some four or five seconds. During that time, a driver on the freeway could cover the length of a football field without even being aware of it.

Drowsy driving can be compared to drunk driving. For example, being awake for 20 consecutive hours is like having a .08 blood alcohol concentration, the legal limit in most states.

The prevalence of drowsy driving

According to estimates from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 328,000 drowsy-driving-related crashes occur each year. Out of all these accidents, 109,000 cause injuries, and 6,400 cause fatalities. These figures actually surpass the official statistics by 350%. The reason is that many instances of drowsy driving go unreported as police may not detect it in the wake of the crash, and drivers themselves may lie about it.

Half of the adult drivers who responded to a National Sleep Foundation survey admitted to consistently getting behind the wheel while drowsy. Approximately 20% of the respondents admitted to falling asleep while driving at least one time in the previous year.

A lawyer to inform you of your options

Motor vehicle accidents that arise from an act of negligence, like drowsy driving, can open the way to a personal injury claim. If you were partially at fault, know that this won’t necessarily bar you from recovering damages. You may want a lawyer to evaluate your case and detail how to move forward with it.