Because of the way sleep deprivation hinders cognitive function, driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk. Getting behind the wheel after having been awake for 18 hours straight is akin to driving with a BAC of 0.05 percent. And after you’re awake for 24 consecutive hours, your response time is comparable to that of someone who has a BAC of 0.10 percent, which is higher than the legal limit.
Unlike drunk driving, however, drowsy driving won’t show up on a chemical test or toxicology report. As such, it can be challenging for accident victims to prove the motorist who struck them had fallen asleep behind the wheel. Thankfully, there are a few pieces of widely accepted evidence that often help, which you can read about below:
1. The Police Report
Police who responded to the scene should have written a formal report, and in that report, they should have noted any conditions they suspect led to the collision. In other words, if they had reason to believe the driver struck you after nodding off, it will be contained within this document.
The official police report will also contain any confessions obtained at the scene. On the off chance the motorist admitted to falling asleep, the document could prove invaluable during the proceedings.
2. Eyewitness Testimony
If those who were in the vicinity at the time witnessed erratic driving—or actually saw the motorist nod off behind the wheel—your legal team will want them to testify. As such, give the names and phone numbers of any eyewitnesses to your personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
3. Dash Camera Footage
Dash cameras may have also captured any erratic driving leading up to the wreck. Even if your own car is not equipped with such a device, there’s a good chance one of the vehicles that was in the vicinity at the time was. Since the footage could be overwritten within weeks, though, you’re going to want to reach out and request copies as soon as possible.
4. Black Box Data
Originally, just commercial vehicles were equipped with event data recorders, or “black boxes.” Nowadays, however, even passenger vehicles have them.
If the car that struck you had a black box, your legal team will want to review the data carefully to see if any of the operating variables it captured are indicative of drowsy driving. If the motorist failed to make any evasive maneuvers just before the crash, for example, it’s reasonable to assume they had fallen asleep and were not even aware of their surroundings.
Discuss Your Case with a Car Accident Attorney in New York
For help with your drowsy driving accident claim, turn to Leitner Varughese. Counseling clients across Long Island, New York City, and the rest of the state, our team has recovered more than $150 million in personal injury and wrongful death actions. To set up a free case review with a car accident lawyer in New York, call 855-585-2969 or complete our Online Contact Form.