We all know the dangers of drunk and drugged driving. But many people may not be aware of another dangerous driving condition: sleepy driving. Our Chicago car accident lawyers warn that drivers who get behind the wheel when they are fatigued can cause serious injuries and deaths.
The New York Times recently exposed the dangers of tired driving. A Bronx bus driver was involved in an accident in New York City that killed 15 passengers, because he reportedly failed to get enough sleep in the days leading up to the deadly accident.
Investigators determined that the driver was fatigued based on records from a car rental agency and his cell phone. Those records showed that while he was driving through New York City, he was talking on he cell phone nearly the entire time that he should have been sleeping.
Speed also played a factor. The bus was moving at about 78 miles per hour just before the accident happened, then swerved into a guardrail. It struck the guardrail twice, then rolled onto its side and slid into the bottom of an overhead sign. The signpost cut through the bus, separating the roof from its body, and resulting in the death of 15 sleeping passengers. Seven other passengers suffered serious injuries.
The driver suffered only slight injuries and was indicted on charges of negligent homicide and manslaughter. Investigators said that proof from the crash scene matched reports of surviving passengers who revealed that the driver fell asleep at the wheel. They also mentioned that there were no indications that the man braked or did anything else to keep the bus on the highway.
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Our Illinois car accident lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm understand that the accident was the result of a deadly and avoidable combination of drowsiness and speeding.The safety board found that the company that employed the driver did not maintain suitable safety controls and did not monitor logs of his driving.
The safety board’s investigators found that the driver was dismissed from earlier jobs with a private bus company and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. In addition, his license was suspended eight times.
Federal investigators also discovered that the New York State Thruway Authority did not protect the signpost with a guardrail meant to redirect vehicles that were of the same weight as a bus. Instead, the guardrail only had enough strength to deflect cars.
At the hearing, the safety board offered several other recommendations including utilizing devices to reduce the speed of passenger buses and having bus companies demand to see 10 years of an applicant’s driving history. They also came to the conclusion that there would have been fewer fatalities from the crash if the bus was equipped with shoulder harnesses and seat belts.
In related news, The Times-Picayune recently reported that State Police suspect tiredness played a part in a Louisiana crash that left two people dead. The accident involved three cars.
One of the victims pulled over his vehicle to help the occupants of another vehicle that had its hazard lights on due to mechanical glitches. The other victim was seated in the rear left seat of this car.
A 20-year-old driver who was traveling south drifted and hit the back of the car with glitches, sending it off the road. The other three occupants of the vehicle – the driver and two women- were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
The 20-year-old then hit the man who had pulled over and sideswiped his car. The police believe that fatigue had a role in the crash and said that charges were pending against the 20-year-old. Speed did not appear to be a factor.
If someone close to you lost their life or was injured in a car accident caused by drowsiness or speeding, contact an auto accident attorney today to get the help you need.