According to a news report in The Orange County Register, a man driving along Laguna Canyon Road the night of October 15, 2017 fell asleep at the wheel, lost control of his vehicle and struck a power pole knocking live wires across the roadway. The crash, which occurred near the 2600 block of Laguna Canyon Road, shut down the roadway for most of the night. The car’s driver did suffer injuries, but the extent of those injuries is not known. No other vehicles seem to have been involved in this crash.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the man who has been injured. We are relieved that no one else was injured and we wish the injured driver the very best for a quick and full recovery.
The Problem of Drowsy Driving
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, about 21 percent of fatal car accidents in the United States involve driver fatigue. One third of crashes involving a drowsy driver also result in injuries. The foundation also estimates that drowsy driving is involved in 6 percent of all crashes in which a vehicle was towed from the scene; 7 percent of crashes in which a person received treatment for injuries sustained in the crash; and 13 percent of crashes in which a person was hospitalized.
Drowsy driving plays a role in about 328,000 car accidents each year. This total includes about 109,000 injury crashes and 6,400 fatal car accidents. But experts say the actual impact of drowsy driving may be even higher than what the numbers may show. This is because it can be challenging to know how drowsy someone was before an accident. Unlike impaired driving, there is no “breathalyzer” test for drowsiness. So, unless a driver admits to falling asleep, drowsy driving often goes unreported.
How Can We Prevent Drowsy Driving?
The first step is to understand the signs of drowsy driving. If you feel your eyelids getting heavy, if you have trouble focusing, if you are yawning or repeatedly rubbing your eyes or if you cannot remember the last few miles driven, it’s highly likely that you are driving while fatigued. Here are a few steps you can take to prevent driving while sleepy:
- Get a good night’s rest. Sleep experts recommend between seven and nine hours of sleep per night for adults.
- If you are planning to go on a long trip, take a companion along who will be able to spot early warning signs of fatigue and switch with you when needed.
- On long trips, schedule regular stops, once every 100 miles or once every two hours.
- Avoid alcohol or medications (over-the-counter or prescribed) that may impair your ability to drive.
- If you find yourself falling asleep during the day, consult a physician to check if you have sleep apnea.
If you have been injured by a fatigued driver, contact an experienced Laguna Beach car accident lawyer who can help you better understand your legal rights and options.