Sleep Driving in Minnesota

A report in February found that three percent of Minnesota drivers admitted they fell asleep while driving at least once within the previous 30 days - which is slightly less than the national average of four percent. These are scary figures when you consider the sheer number of vehicles traveling on the roadways each day. Indeed, about one of every 40 fatal traffic accidents is the result of a driver falling asleep at the wheel. The safe and proper operation of a motor vehicle requires the driver to remain alert, observant and able to react quickly to changing road conditions. A driver who drives without sufficient sleep or while drowsy as a result of taking medication or consuming drugs or alcohol places themselves and others at great risk of suffering devastating injuries or death.

Who is especially at risk to fall asleep at the wheel?

According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 70,000 people are injured in auto accidents because of drivers who fell asleep, resulting in total losses of $12.5 billion a year.

People who are particularly at risk to fall asleep on the road include:

  • Drivers who are driving alone at night
  • Commercial truck drivers who drive through the night
  • Drivers who are on certain medications that have a side-effect of drowsiness
  • Drivers on long road trips who are driving through the night
  • Workers of a overnight or early morning shift
  • Drunk drivers

New federal rules for commercial truck drivers

This past July, the U.S. Department of Transportation imposed new regulations of truck drivers' hours of operation for the express purpose of reducing accidents caused by driver fatigue. The regulations reduced the truck drivers' maximum average work week from 82 hours to 70 hours, and added more mandatory rests between shifts.

If you were injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident in which a driver fell asleep, our knowledgeable St. Paul personal injury lawyers at Bowden ♦ Cyr, PLLC can help you recover damages.