Drowsy Driving Accident Attorney in Biloxi
Drowsy driving is far more common than most people realize. A National Sleep Foundation poll from 2005 found that approximately 60% of all adult drivers had driven while they were tired or fatigued during that previous year, and about one third of all drivers admitted to having fallen asleep behind the wheel. A more recent study by AAA found similar results, with about 37% confessing to having fallen asleep while driving.
Many people are aware that they probably shouldn’t be driving when they are tired or fatigued, but they may not understand how dangerous this practice is. Drowsy driving is not illegal in most states (Mississippi included), and this type of behavior does not get nearly as much attention as drunk driving or distracted driving. Despite these facts, drowsy and fatigued driving is a contributing factor in tens of thousands of auto accidents each year.
When someone drives while drowsy or fatigued and it results in an accident with injuries, that driver is negligent and deserves to be held responsible. If you or someone close to you has suffered injury because of a drowsy driver, you deserve to be fully compensated for your losses. Unfortunately, insurance companies will use all kinds of tactics to diminish the value of your claim and cause you to lose out on the just compensation you are entitled to. For this reason, you need strong legal counsel by your side fighting hard to secure maximum compensation.
Before you speak with anyone from the insurance company, call the Gardner Law Firm for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will meet with you to fully assess your case and advise you of your legal rights and options.
For over 40 years, the Gardner law firm has been a fierce legal advocate for those who have been injured in all types of auto accidents in Ocean Springs, Biloxi, Gulfport, Pascagoula, and communities throughout Southern Mississippi. Our attorneys have in-depth knowledge of this area of the law, and we know what it takes to prevail against even the most well-funded adversaries. We routinely go up against insurance companies and other large entities, and we are not intimidated by their vast resources. And when a client of ours is injured by a drowsy or fatigued driver, we work tirelessly to help ensure that they are fully and fairly compensated.
Drowsy Driving Accident Statistics
As the previously cited studies indicate, a very large percentage of the adult driving population has admitted to driving when they were drowsy or fatigued. And according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving causes approximately 44,000 injuries and 800 fatalities on the roads each year. While these are startling statistics, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that the official numbers vastly underestimate the problem, and that as many as 6,000 fatal crashes each year are caused by drowsy drivers.
Anyone is susceptible to driving when they are tired and fatigued, and it has probably happened to just about every driver at some time or another. But there are some groups that do this more regularly, which puts themselves and others at risk. The risk goes beyond just falling asleep at the wheel – although that is by far the most dangerous scenario. Even when tired and fatigued drivers do not fall asleep, they still have slower reaction times, and they tend to pay less attention to important details, such as vehicles entering their blind spot or a pedestrian crossing the road at night.
What Groups are Most at Risk for Drowsy Driving?
The CDC mentions several groups that are more likely to drive while drowsy:
- Drivers who do not get enough sleep (which generally means less than six hours of sleep a night);
- Those who work long shifts during the evening and overnight hours;
- Drivers who take sleep-inducing medications;
- Drivers who have untreated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea;
- Drivers who operate commercial vehicles, which may include buses, tow trucks, and tractor trailers.
Drowsy driving has been an ongoing problem in the trucking industry since its inception. Truck drivers often fall into multiple high-risk groups; they tend to work long hours after dark, they often do not get enough sleep, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that just under one third of all truckers have mild to severe sleep apnea.
To help combat this problem, the FMCSA imposes Hours of Service guidelines for industry drivers. For example, truck drivers are not allowed to work more than 60 hours over seven consecutive days, and they may only be on duty for up to 14 consecutive hours (with a maximum of 11 driving hours) following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
Unfortunately, truck drivers are often encouraged and even incentivized to break Hours of Service regulations. Trucking companies often impose unrealistic deadlines that force drivers to cut corners in order to stay on schedule. And in general, the faster they can get their deliveries done, the more money they can make. Under these types of pressures, truckers are often put into situations in which they have to drive without getting enough sleep.
What to Do if you are Injured by a Drowsy Driver
If you have been involved in an accident with a driver who was drowsy or fatigued, there are some steps you should take immediately after the accident:
- Call 911: Get an ambulance to the scene to make sure anyone who was hurt (including yourself) gets immediate medical attention.
- Call the Police: The police should be summoned if there are any injuries, and to help secure the scene. The official police report will be one of the key pieces of evidence used to pursue a legal claim.
- Document the Event: If you are physically able, take multiple photographs of the accident scene, so you can preserve visual evidence of what happened. Also create your own report while everything is fresh in your mind.
- Get Statements from Witnesses: If there are any individuals nearby that saw what happened, obtain statements and contact information from them.
- Do NOT Admit Fault: When you exchange insurance information with the other driver, be polite and courteous, but never apologize or admit fault for the accident. Leave the determination of fault to the experts.
- Contact an Experienced Attorney: As soon as is convenient, get in touch with a seasoned Mississippi car accident lawyer. The sooner you get an attorney involved, the better your chances of successfully recovering full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Call the Gardner Law Firm for Strong Legal Guidance
If you were involved in a drowsy driving accident in Ocean Springs, Gulfport, Biloxi, Pascagoula, or anywhere along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, call the Gardner Law Firm today at 228-436-6555 or message us online to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.
We handle all personal injury cases on a contingency basis – you only pay attorney fees if we win your case