According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, there are approximately 100,000 car accidents nationally every year related to drowsy driving. These accidents account for more than 1,550 traffic deaths and 71,000 injuries in Connecticut and across the country. It may be that these estimates are less than the true figures, though, as it can often be difficult to determine whether a person was fatigued or drowsy at the time of a crash.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has estimated that around 328,000 drowsy driving accidents happen every year. The disparity may lie in the fact that the NHTSA includes only police-reported crashes in its figures while the AAA estimate includes other data as well. As far as economic damages, the NHTSA estimates that these fatality and injury crashes cost the country around $109 billion each year, not accounting for damages to property.
Driving drowsy is similar in some ways to operating a vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol. It causes worsened reaction times and triples the risk of a car accident occurring. Getting behind the wheel after more than 20 hours without sleep is equivalent to driving with a BAC of .08%, the legal limit in the US. Fatigued driving can cause drivers to micro-sleep, or fall asleep for short periods. During a five-second micro-sleep, a driver can travel the distance of a football field at highway speeds.
When drowsy or fatigued driving leads to car accidents in Connecticut, injured parties might have claims for damages that including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. An attorney who practices personal injury law may help in such cases by deposing experts, interviewing witnesses, gathering and organizing medical records, or otherwise developing a case for trial. An attorney might be able to negotiate an out-of-court settlement for money damages on behalf of the client.