Drowsy Driving Accident in Berkeley
On Thursday, March 16, 2017, a Berkeley man died in a single-car accident while traveling east on Highway 12, west of the Stoney Point Road Exit in an unincorporated area of Sonoma County.
The victim, a 45-year-old former resident of Berkeley who was currently living in San Jose, was driving on the highway west of Santa Rosa when the 2007 Honda Accord he was driving reportedly drifted to the right, traveled off the roadway, and hit a tree. According to a representative of the California Highway Patrol (CHP), he was subsequently transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and was declared dead at about 6:30 p.m. Officials with the CHP speculate that the victim either experienced a medical event or fell asleep while driving. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 6,000 fatal crashes occur annually in the United States. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 72,000 accidents happened in 2013 due to drowsy driving. Several studies have shown that an estimated one out of every 25 drivers over 18 have reported falling asleep while driving in any given 30-day period.
Falling asleep at the wheel can be caused by certain medical conditions such as sleep apnea, a medication that causes drowsiness, alcohol or drug use, and not getting enough sleep. It is more common among shift workers and those who drive for a living. There are two peak periods for falling asleep at the wheel: midnight and mid-afternoon. Overall, nighttime hours show the greatest incidence of drowsy driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points to ways that show an accident might be caused by a driver falling asleep at the wheel. Characteristics that show an accident was caused by drowsy driving include:
- A crash involving a single vehicle leaving the road
- In an accident without any indication, the driver tried to stop the vehicle before crashing. This includes the absence of tire skid marks on the roadway.
- A crash where the driver is the sole occupant of the motor vehicle
- An accident that occurs on a highway where higher speeds are allowed
- A rear-end or head-on collision where one driver fell asleep
Berkeley Car Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Berkeley car accident lawyer. When a drowsy driver falls asleep at the wheel, other motorists or pedestrians can be injured or killed. Medical expenses, lost wages, and, in some cases, funeral and burial costs take a financial toll. Call me at (510) 631-0200 for free and friendly advice, or outside the area, phone me toll-free at (800) 404-5400.
I belong to the California sector of the Million Dollar Forum, which is open to trial lawyers who have obtained settlements and verdicts of over $1 million in verdicts and settlements for their clients.
For additional information, please visit my Past Verdicts and Settlements page to view a sampling of my case results.
Photo attribution: Pixabay
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