California drivers may be interested to know that increasingly, cars and trucks are equipped with devices that reduce the chances of crashes due to fatigue. Approximately 7,000 motor vehicle crashes that result in fatalities each year are believed to have fatigue as a factor. It is difficult to get firm figures because there is no way to test for drowsiness like there is for drunk driving.
One of those devices is a system that warns about a forward collision. It alerts the driver using a flashing light and may even brake automatically. Another type of technology warns drivers when they wander out of their lane. Some cars get an alert from the dashboard when the driver appears to be steering less because this may indicate that the driver is becoming drowsy. At present, these technologies are only in a few cars and trucks, but some experts predict that their use will grow. They have been estimated to prevent from 10 to 40 percent of fatigue-related accidents.
There are also apps available that sound alerts if the driver behaves in ways that indicate fatigue. Another app tracks age, weight and amount of sleep for a driver and requires the driver to respond periodically based on how tired that driver may be.
Car accidents caused by motorists who are fatigued can have serious consequences for those who are injured. These injuries can be expensive and life-changing. The victims may be unable to work, and insurance compensation may not be adequate. Family members may suffer as well if they were dependent. In such cases, an injured victim might want to consult an attorney about filing a lawsuit seeking damages from the responsible motorist.