According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2.5 percent of fatal car accidents and 2 percent of non-fatal accidents are related to driver fatigue, but these numbers are likely greatly understated. This is because fatigue is generally not noted in police reports due to the fact that it is not as easy to determine as when someone has been driving under the influence, and there is no definitive test for it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the numbers are much closer to 25 percent of fatal accidents being related to driver fatigue. An associate research scientist at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute also notes that driver fatigue is something that is normally associated with truck drivers, but the issue is one that is a problem for motorists in automobiles as well.
Research shows that someone who is fatigued will have impairments similar to those of someone who is intoxicated, including slowed reaction times and impaired judgement. If someone actually dozes off while behind the wheel, the consequences, naturally, can be far greater. As with someone who is under the influence, people will fail to take any type of evasive action to avoid or reduce the consequences of an accident.
Motorists who are in a car accident caused by a negligent driver are likely to face a variety of expenses related to the collision, such as vehicle repairs, medical bills and obtaining a rental car. In some cases, injured victims may also lose wages due to not being able to work while recovering. A lawyer might assist an injured client in pursuing damages from the responsible party.