Although few American states have drowsy driving laws in force, AAA Foundation research shows that driving while tired is the main cause of approximately 10% or the accidents occurring on the U.S. Roads, including Ohio, especially of serious accidents, involving serious considerable damage and injuries.
The study involved over 3,500 drivers who underwent continuous monitoring for several months. They had cameras and other equipment installed in their vehicles for data collection purposes. Measurements showed that driving tired was a factor in 8.8% – 9.5% of all the accidents examined and in 10.6%–10.8% of the accidents that involved major property damage, injuries, or airbags deployment.
Obviously, the victims of these accidents have the right to seek compensation for their losses. Unfortunately, doing so is not easy, especially in states like Ohio, where the only drowsy driving laws in force refer to commercial vehicles. The best strategy for anyone injured in a driving accident in Columbus OH is to request the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
Ohio Drowsy Driving Laws and the Importance of Working with an Experienced Columbus Drowsy Driving Lawyer
Drowsy driving is covered in the Ohio Revised Code Title 45, Chapter 4511, Section 4511.79. This section prohibits drivers from operating commercial vehicles when their alertness or ability to drive is so affected by illness, fatigue, or other factors that it jeopardizes their safety. Paragraph B of the same section holds commercial vehicle owners and the drivers’ employers responsible for knowingly allowing fatigue- or illness-impaired drivers to operate their vehicles.
Both drivers and vehicle owners or employers who allow impaired or tired driving risk being charged with a minor misdemeanor. Repeat offenders could be charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor. Judging by these stipulations, Ohio driving laws may seem permissive.
However, the punishments they foresee refer to the offense on its own, when it does not lead to accidents. An experienced lawyer will be able to use these stipulations and any previous offenses to show that the tired driver knowingly jeopardized their safety and that of the other traffic participants and should answer for the consequences of their actions.
They may also be able to prove that, due to the considerable number of hours the driver spent behind the wheel or the long distance they covered within the last 24 hours, their employer should have known the driver was tired and should have prevented them from continuing to drive. This would justify a compensation claim with the driver’s employer.
No matter if the driver at fault for the accident was operating a commercial vehicle or their personal vehicle it is up to the accident victim to prove their liability. Given the limited reach of the Ohio drowsy driving laws, this is a job for an experienced Columbus drowsy driving lawyer.
Ways to Prove Liability in a Columbus Driving Tired Accident
Here are some aspects an experienced drowsy driving lawyer in Columbus may investigate and try to prove in order to obtain rightful compensation for their clients:
- The driver’s activity and whereabouts throughout the last 24-48 hours – If the car has a GPS tracker or the driver used their mobile phone to navigate, their itinerary may reflect the fact that the driver did not sleep enough or at all and they were extremely tired at the time of the accident. An experienced car wreck lawyer may also be able to find witnesses who can testify to the driver’s lack of sleep and state of fatigue (work colleagues, friends, neighbors, etc.)
- The details of the scene of the accident – Sometimes, fatigue causes drivers to lose focus for only a couple of seconds. These seconds can be enough for them to veer out of their lane, miss road turns, or get into crowded intersections without braking and without reassuring themselves. An experienced drowsy driving lawyer in Columbus will know how to use the lack of brake marks, video footages from the area, and witnesses to prove the driver lost control of their vehicle or something was affecting their performance at the wheel.
- The driver’s mobile and social media records – It is not uncommon for drivers to call or text friends and family trying to stay awake, or to update their status on the social media using terms like “sleepy,” “exhausted,” “tired,” etc. A skilled lawyer will be able to identify and use such entries in their client’s favor. If they cannot prove driving while tired, they may be able to prove distracted driving, which would be more than enough to secure the compensation their client deserves.
- The driver’s medication – Many drugs have attention deficit, sleepiness, and drowsiness as side-effects. An experienced lawyer may be able to prove that the driver at fault for their client’s injuries and damages was under the influence of such drugs, and therefore responsible for their lack of performance behind the wheel.
There are many other strategies an experienced drowsy driving lawyer may use to prove liability and protect their client’s interests. However, the ones listed above should be enough to convince anyone who incurred injuries or property damage in a driving accident in Columbus, OH, to contact an experienced local attorney as soon as possible.
Seek Compensation for Your Drowsy Driving Accident with the Help of a Columbus, OH, Lawyer
If you were the victim of an accident which had driving while tired as the main cause, you deserve a consistent compensation for your losses. You can obtain it with the help of an experienced and dedicated Chester Law Group lawyer.
Our lawyers know the drowsy driving laws in Ohio by heart, and they can help you prove the driver at fault for your accident broke them. Call our office or fill in the Free Case Review form to schedule a FREE consultation now!