North Carolina Drowsy Driving Car Accidents

Stressed woman driving a car

Just as it is unsafe to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated, it is never safe to drive if you haven’t gotten adequate rest. Unfortunately, many people still choose to drive when they are impaired by fatigue. They may be drowsy because of medications, untreated sleep disorders, or simply because they’ve been on the road too long or didn’t sleep enough the night before. Whatever the reason, drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving, but many people do it just the same.

At Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, we have seen firsthand the devastation that drowsy driving can have on people in our community. For more than four decades, we’ve fought for fair compensation for individuals who’ve been injured by drowsy and otherwise negligent drivers in North Carolina.

From building relationships to solving clients’ legal issues, we do everything we can to stand up for the accident victims we represent in personal injury claims. We’re proud of our reputation as advocates for accident victims, and our case results speak volumes about the work we do every day.

If you’ve been injured in a crash involving a drowsy driver, turn to a trusted North Carolina law firm that’s committed to your total recovery. Turn to Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC.

For a free case review, get in touch with us today by phone or our online form.

What Is Drowsy Driving and Why Is It Dangerous?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drowsy driving is the operation of a vehicle while fatigued or sleepy. Many factors could cause drowsy driving, such as:

  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Having low-quality sleep because of sleep disorders or disturbances
  • Being under the influence of certain medications such as benzodiazepines
  • Alcohol consumption

Drowsy driving is hazardous because it can reduce reaction times, impair judgment, and make drivers less attentive than they need to be to drive safely. And if they fall asleep at the wheel, they could instantly lose control of their vehicle. They could run through intersections, drift into other lanes, and fail to stop when necessary, leading to lasting injuries for car crash victims.

When Do Most Drowsy Driving Accidents Occur?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most North Carolina drowsy driving car accidents occur between midnight and 6 a.m. or late in the afternoon. During both of these windows, most drivers naturally experience lower energy. When combined with a lack of sleep or factors such as medication, these dips in energy can severely impair a driver’s attention and ability to operate a vehicle.

Liability for Car Crashes Involving Overly Tired Drivers

In North Carolina, no specific law prohibits drowsy driving. Still, driving a vehicle while overly drowsy is negligent driving. If you can show that another driver’s negligence caused the accident, you may be able to hold them liable for your injuries.

However, you’ll need to demonstrate that the other driver was entirely responsible for the accident. That’s because North Carolina uses a system known as contributory negligence. Under that system, if you are even a little bit responsible for an accident, you may be prevented from recovering compensation for your injuries.

If you’ve been injured in a car crash and you have questions about your right to compensation, speak with a drowsy driving car accident lawyer in North Carolina. The personal injury attorneys at Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, can answer your questions, explore your options for compensation, and advise you on your next moves.

Compensation for Victims of Fatigued Driver Crashes

Victims may be left to cope with significant and life-changing injuries following an accident. But compensation can help pay bills and cover treatment costs. It could even replace the lost income and other losses from the accident.

Following a North Carolina drowsy driving car accident, some of the types of compensation you may be able to seek to include:

  • The income you lose because of your injuries
  • Damage to your future earnings
  • Medical bills related to your injuries, now and in the future
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage 

Proving Driver Fatigue as the Cause of the Crash

Proving fatigue is challenging, but it can be done. Investigators may look at factors such as whether the driver swerved or braked before the impact or made any other attempt to avoid a collision. They may also look at witness statements, police reports, and what time of day the accident happened.

If a commercial driver was involved in the crash, investigators may review the driver’s logs to determine how long the driver had been on the road and whether the driver violated hours of service regulations.

In some cases, they may even examine the driver’s medical history. For example, that may show the driver suffered from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, which could have factored into their drowsy driving.

How to Prevent Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving can be deadly. But drivers can take simple steps to prevent it. These tips can help you avoid drowsy driving:

  • Get at least seven or eight hours of sleep every night.
  • Stick to a sleep schedule.
  • Do not drive after taking medications that make you drowsy.
  • Avoid driving in the late afternoon or between midnight and 6 a.m.
  • Talk with medical professionals about any potential sleep disorders you may have.
  • Do not drink and drive.
  • If you’re driving and become drowsy, pull over in a safe area.
  • Do not rely on caffeine, cool air, loud music, or other tricks to keep you alert.

Drowsy Driving Statistics in North Carolina

Drowsy driving car accidents in North Carolina happen every day. According to a report from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, drowsy driving was involved in an estimated 3,400 crashes and 22 fatalities on North Carolina roads in a single recent year. However, the actual number may be much higher. According to the report, these numbers rely on self-reporting, and when a fatality occurs, law enforcement officers often don’t have any way of knowing whether the driver was drowsy.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney in North Carolina for Help

If a drowsy driver injured you, contact Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC. For three generations, our attorneys have served people who’ve been injured in North Carolina. Our roots run deep in North Carolina, and we’re proud to help our clients and our communities.

We are ready to provide you with a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable injury attorneys. If you hire us, we’ll represent you on a contingency-fee-basis. That means we’ll front all of the costs for your case, and we’ll only collect a fee if we win compensation for you.

Contact us now for a free claim review and legal advice about your best options for pursuing compensation.