According to recent studies, a driver who has been awake for 24 hours has the same cognitive impairment as a driver with a blood alcohol level of .10 percent. A driver who is tired generally has a slower reaction time, is less attentive and shows impaired judgment. While the severity of the impairment may vary, even West Virginia drivers who are slightly tired may zone out while extremely tired drivers may fall asleep while driving.
Furthermore, a driver who is tired is more prone to go off the road and may do little or nothing to prevent an accident. For instance, he or she may not brake before hitting a car or try to steer out of the way. According to the CDC, 25 percent of fatal accidents involve a drowsy driver each year, but there is no way to confirm that number as there is no test for drowsiness.
Automakers Volvo and BMW monitor driver fatigue levels and can take action to alert a driver who may be falling asleep. If the car senses that the driver is tired, it may emit a loud beep or flash a light. Currently, the technology is only available in higher-end models, but it is expected to be implemented on economy models in the future as the technology becomes less expensive.
Drivers, passengers or pedestrians who are injured because of negligent driving may wish to pursue legal action. It may be possible to be compensated for lost wages if the injured victim is unable to return to work during the recovery period, as well as reimbursement for medical bills that have been incurred. A personal injury attorney might provide assistance to an injured victim throughout the legal process.