The National Transportation Safety Board has recently stated that the 2014 truck accident that injured comedian Tracy Morgan was caused by driver fatigue, putting the spotlight on a significant problem that endangers drivers in Louisiana and nationwide. However, an increasing number of new vehicles on the market feature safety technology that could reduce fatigue-related crashes.
According to the NTSB, the Walmart truck driver who rear-ended Morgan's limo had been awake for 28 hours. Research shows that staying awake for 24 hours can cause drivers to have cognitive deficits similar to those with a blood alcohol level of .10, which is above the legal limit. Statistics on the number of crashes caused by driver fatigue each year vary greatly. While the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration estimates that 2.5 percent of all fatal crashes are caused by drowsy drivers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the number at 25 percent.
To help combat the issue, more automakers are developing anti-collision technology that could help prevent crashes caused by fatigue. For instance, forward collision monitoring systems using cameras or lasers are now available on Chevrolet and Mazda vehicles. Researchers believe the technology could reduce rear-end crashes by 10 percent. Lane departure warning systems are also becoming more common. Studies show this technology could reduce off-road accidents by 40 percent. Meanwhile, BMW and Volvo have added technology that actively checks how alert a driver is while the vehicle is in motion.
Despite these promising advancements, drowsy drivers still cause thousands of crashes each year. A person who has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent driver may wish to consult with an attorney about the available legal options. It may be advisable to file a lawsuit against the responsible party seeking compensation for medical expenses and other damages.