New Jersey law charges drivers who kill someone after staying awake more than 24 hours with vehicular homicide
A new study conducted by the American Association of Automobiles (AAA) concluded that drowsy drivers cause more car crashes than are officially reported to federal agencies. The AAA study showed drowsy drivers caused 10% of accidents every year versus the 1%-2% reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2011-2015.
The AAA study monitored more than 3,500 drivers in the United States from October 2010 to December 2013. In-vehicle cameras and other data collection equipment captured behind-the-wheel behaviors to determine drowsiness based on the percentage of time drivers’ eyes were closed.
AAA released videos of drivers who fell asleep for seconds and left the road, drifted into other car lanes, and crossed over into oncoming traffic. In 2002, a driver fell asleep behind the wheel and crossed over the lane on White Horse Pike in Clementon, New Jersey. The resulting head-on crash killed 20-year-old Maggie McDonnell. In 2003, the New Jersey legislature passed Maggie’s Law that charges drivers who killed someone after staying awake more than 24 hours with vehicular homicide.
Everybody needs sleep. The United States Department of Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health suggest we sleep eight hours per day. But the United States Centers for Disease Control reported more than a third of adults sleep less than seven hours each day. That means more than 80 million people are sleep deprived at work, school, and on the road.
Pam Fischer, former executive director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Safety Association and author of a Governor’s Highway Safety Association 2016 report on drowsy driving, acknowledged that sleep-deprived driving is grossly underreported. Fischer’s 2016 report outlined several tips you can use to avoid drowsy driving that include:
- Sleep more than eight hours for several nights before a long car trip
- Avoid driving from midnight to 7 AM and in the late afternoon
- Drive with a well-rested passenger to engage conversation
- Schedule frequent stops every 100 miles or two hours
Take these precautions and if you’re tired don’t get behind a wheel. Have a friend drive, take public transportation, or walk. Driving drowsy may get you or another killed, where you may be subject to Maggie’s Law.
If you’re involved in a drowsy driving accident, whether you were the driver, passenger, or victim, contact our skilled New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Lomurro Law. We have extensive experience in handling car crashes and all types of accidents throughout the Garden State with offices in Freehold and East Brunswick. Your initial personal injury consultation is free, and our attorneys are available to visit you at home or in the hospital. Call 732-482-9285 or contact us online to discuss your case.