Nathaniel Marston and Fatigued Driving
CNN recently reported that former soap opera actor, Nathaniel Marston, died of injuries he sustained in a single car accident where he allegedly fell asleep at the wheel: http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/12/entertainment/nathaniel-marston-accident-obit-feat/index.html
Mr. Marston was only 40 years old at the time of his tragic passing. During his college years, Personal Injury Attorney Joel Williams, lost a dear friend after a fatigued driver ran off the road and killed his fraternity brother. Since that time, Attorney Joel Williams has dedicated a substantial portion of his practice to increasing public awareness of the dangers of fatigued driving. Discover a little more about Atlanta Injury Attorney Joel Williams’ practice here: http://gatrialattorney.com/auto-accidents/
Consider these alarming statistics reported by the National Sleep Foundation at
• 168 million people say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year and more than 103 million have actually fallen asleep at the wheel!
• NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
• People who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more, while people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk four to five times.
• One study showed that being awake for 18 hours produced an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05, and .10 after 24 hours. In Georgia, .08 is considered legally drunk.
• Tractor-trailer and other commercial drivers with undiagnosed sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and acute insomnia are at an increased risk for crashes related to their lack of sleep.
• People tend to fall asleep more on high-speed, long, boring, rural highways. Those who live in urban areas, like Atlanta, Georgia, are more likely to doze off while driving compared to people in rural suburban areas.
• Nearly one-quarter of adults (23%) say they know someone personally who has crashed due to falling asleep at the wheel.
Fatigued driving compared to drunk driving:
If fatigued driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, why isn’t there more public education concerning this life threatening activity? Perhaps it is because there is no test to determine sleepiness as there is for drunk driving. Maybe it is because there is very little law enforcement training for identifying drowsiness as a contributing factor to automobile accidents.
Regardless of the reason, we should all understand that drowsy driving is as dangerous as driving after a few beers or driving while texting. This is especially true for tractor-trailer drivers. To its credit, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration regulates the maximum hours a tractor-trailer driver may drive.
For example, a tractor-trailer driver:
• May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty;
• May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off duty does not extend the 14 hour period;
• May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days
Drowsy driving is dangerous and deadly. It doesn’t matter whether the drowsy driver is driving a tractor-trailer or a passenger car, the risks posed to the driver and others are tremendous and potentially deadly.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a crash caused by a drowsy or sleepy driver, call Personal Injury Attorney Joel Williams today. He offers free consultations and will help you understand your legal options.
I am looking at 7 vs. 8 hours of sleep differently now!