According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately two percent of non-fatal accidents and 2.5 percent of fatal accidents are related to someone driving while fatigued. However, due to the fact that it is hard for officers to determine if someone is fatigued and there is no way to really test for it, driver fatigue does not end up on police reports. As such, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about a quarter of fatal accidents involve driver fatigue.
Driving while fatigued can be very similar to driving while intoxicated. The cognitive deficiencies of a person driving while under the influence include reduced reaction times, lowered awareness of surroundings and impaired judgement. These are essentially the same issues a driver who is extremely tired may face. In some cases, an exhausted driver may even doze off, something that is potentially more dangerous than driving under the influence.
Additionally, although the issue of driving while exhausted is normally associated with truck drivers, the problem is a societal one, according to an associate research scientist at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Truck accidents tend to draw more attention because of the damage that large and heavy vehicles can do, but regular motorists regularly drive while fatigued.
When an accident is caused by a negligent motorist, those who are injured in the crash often face high medical expenses and are unable to work for prolonged periods of time. A personal injury attorney can often assist an injured victim in seeking compensation from the responsible party for the damages that have been incurred.