Although DUI and distracted driving receive significant media attention because of their dangers, New York motorists can also face significant risks on the road because of fatigued drivers. In a high-profile situation, well-known comedian Tracy Morgan was seriously injured in a 2014 New Jersey accident caused by a semi truck failing to slow in a construction zone. It is difficult to test for fatigue, but this is believed to have been a major factor in this incident as the truck driver had been awake for at least 28 hours prior to the crash.
A car accident related to fatigue can be major as a dozing driver has little or no time to react to a situation to avoid collision. In cases of semis and other commercial vehicles, size can also play a huge role in the severity of injuries suffered by any passengers or motorists in other vehicles. An alert system could provide enough warning to allow a tired driver an opportunity to make a correction before a collision can occur. Such systems have been explored, including those that would alert a driver to lane changes or forward collision risks. Bluetooth alert systems are also being developed to warn drivers whose head movements indicate that they may be dozing or demonstrating other signs of fatigue.
Fatigue tends to be less likely in a nonfatal car accident. Additionally, this issue is more likely to be a problem in more remote driving locations. An estimated 7,500 fatal accidents per year result from fatigue, approximately 25 percent of all fatality accidents.
A person who is injured in a fatigue-related accident may receive some financial benefits from insurance companies. However, they may find that personal injury litigation is advisable if a driver or trucking company has demonstrated negligence in complying with regulations related to rest periods.