Every time we get behind the wheel, we are likely quite aware of the dangerous things we should be avoiding. We know we shouldn’t be drunk, distracted or reckless behind the wheel, and we often do our best to avoid these behaviors because we don’t want to get pulled over and ticketed.
However, not every dangerous behavior is necessarily a traffic violation, and too often, people think that unless something is against the law, it is safe. But this is not true. Let’s consider, for example, drowsy driving.
Drowsy driving is undoubtedly dangerous. In fact, it is reportedly linked to roughly 100,000 motor vehicle accidents every year. However, in Florida, there are no laws prohibiting drowsy driving or setting restrictions on how much sleep a non-commercial driver must have before driving.
Because of this, people don’t often stop to think about whether they are too tired to drive safely. They don’t see the serious risk of zoning out behind the wheel or they drive while fatigued so frequently that they assume it’s not that big of a deal.
However, lawmakers and advocacy groups want to change this environment where people think drowsy driving is okay. There have been proposals to pass bills that assign penalties for driving without adequate rest and discussions about how best to raise public awareness of the issue through campaigns similar to those for drunk and distracted driving.
Sadly, drowsy driving is still something that people all across Florida will continue to do, even if the above-mentioned efforts are put into place. Because of this, it can be crucial for accident victims to understand the fact that there is something they can do to hold unsafe drivers accountable.
While they may not be ticketed or arrested or become the face of a national awareness campaign, drivers who cause an accident due to fatigue or drowsiness can be held responsible through a civil legal claim.
Taking legal action not only helps victims recover compensation, it can also help to raise awareness of this issue and send the message that this type of behavior is dangerous and drivers can be held liable.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Drowsy Driving Causes 100,000 Accidents A Year. Why Aren’t We Doing More To Stop It?” Feb. 29, 2016