More than 83 million drowsy drivers on U.S. roads every day

An August 2016 report from the Governors Highway Safety Association indicates that Connecticut motorists may want to consider adding drowsy or fatigued motorists to their list of highway perils. According to the GHSA, there are more than 83 million drowsy Americans drivers on the road each day, and the accidents they cause kill more than 5,000 people annually.

The GHSA report also points out that the true death toll could be even higher because law enforcement officers have no reliable protocols to help them identify fatigued drivers. The problem is made more challenging because drowsy motorists jarred awake by a collision are often fully alert by the time police arrive at an accident scene. Data shows that more than half of all drowsy driving accidents involve teens or young adults, and night workers or those with irregular shifts also have higher chances of crashing after falling asleep at the wheel.

According to the GHSA, a series of public awareness campaigns similar to those aimed at drunk or distracted drivers may be the best way to combat the problem. Drowsy driving accidents plummeted by 63 percent in Utah after officials erected highway warning signs that reminded motorists of the dangers of driving while fatigued.

Personal injury cases involving drowsy drivers may be approached by attorneys in much the same way as lawsuits with defendants who were distracted at the time of a crash. While having clear evidence that a driver was asleep could establish negligence in this kind of litigation, attorneys may be able to meet their evidential burden in these situations simply by showing that the vehicle in question was in working order and no evasive action was taken.