Can a driver use insomnia as an excuse for a crash?

Drivers with insomnia are twice as likely to have a vehicle crash as those without the disorder. They are also three times as likely to have a near-miss accident than drivers without insomnia. Those are the findings of a study into the effects of insomnia on truck drivers. There is nothing to suggest the same would not apply to the drivers of all vehicles, however. Understanding how insomnia can affect someone's driving can be important to your safety.

What is insomnia?

Medical authorities categorize insomnia as follows:
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Waking up too early
You can have one of the symptoms or all of them. For some people, the problem comes and goes. This is acute insomnia. For others, it persists. This is chronic insomnia. Some can suffer from insomnia their whole life, while others develop it over time.

Why does insomnia make driving dangerous?

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to effective performance in everyday life. When someone has insomnia, they do not get a good night’s sleep. That lack of sleep means they are tired and not so alert during the daytime. Of all the areas of life this affects, driving is one of the most serious. You cannot injure or kill someone falling asleep at your keyboard. You can if you are behind the wheel of a vehicle when you nod off. When an accident happens because a driver was tired, it does not matter why they were tired. It does not matter if their tiredness was due to late-night partying, having to rush their child to the hospital in the middle of the night or chronic insomnia. Their lack of alertness still caused the crash -- and that makes them liable for any damage or injuries they caused. If you've been injured by a drowsy driver, you need results -- not excuses. Working with an experienced advocate can help you get all of the compensation you deserve.