Home Blog Car Accident Was Fatigue the Stealth Cause of a Recent San Diego Crash on West Mission Bay Drive?

Was Fatigue the Stealth Cause of a Recent San Diego Crash on West Mission Bay Drive?

By Eugene Bruno on October 31, 2023

Grace Richards, 32, lost control of her Chevrolet SUV on West Mission Bay Drive shortly before 10 p.m. on October 18, 2023. Richard was traveling from Nevada when her vehicle, which was towing a trailer, veered off the roadway and struck a tree. Richards died at the scene of the crash. San Diego Police say there is no explanation why she seemingly lost control of her vehicle. Could fatigue have been a factor? The answer, unfortunately, may never be known.

DUI vs. Drowsy Driving: You May Not Have Heard of Drowsy Driving, but Both Are Dangerous

When it comes to road safety, most of us are well aware of the dangers of DUI or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, there’s another equally dangerous threat that doesn’t get as much attention – drowsy driving. In this blog post, we’ll explore the risks associated with this stealth killer and compare drowsy driving to the better-known dangers of DUI. You may be surprised to learn how similar they are. By shedding light on both of these killers, we hope to raise awareness about the importance of making the responsible choice to stay alert behind the wheel.

Drowsy Driving: Stay Alert, Stay Alive

Could travel fatigue have been a factor in causing Grace Richards to lose control of her vehicle, resulting in the crash that killed her? Grace is no longer here to tell us what happened, so we are left to speculate. But even speculation can teach us a valuable lesson. Drowsy driving does not make headlines as often as DUI, but drowsy driving can be just as much of a killer. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving causes approximately 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths each year in the United States alone. In fact, drowsy driving is a much bigger problem than most people realize.

Similar Impairment to DUI

Drowsy driving and drunk driving are similar in that they both impair cognitive and motor functions. Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can lead to cognitive impairment similar to that caused by alcohol. While the causes are very different, the deadly result is the same. DUI drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol and drowsy drivers impaired by fatigue and lack of sleep both exhibit slower reaction times, reduced coordination, and impaired decision-making skills, making a crash more likely to occur.

While DUI crashes tend to increase on weekends and holidays, fatigue-related drowsy driving crashes can occur anytime. Fatigue can strike at odd times. Many fatigue-related crashes occur in the early morning or late at night when our natural circadian rhythms make us more inclined to be drowsy. The end of daylight savings time can also cause an increase in fatigue-related crashes as we adjust to new sleep patterns and more driving during dark hours. Fatigue can strike at any time, which is why it is a stealth killer. It is not difficult to imagine a fatigued tourist arriving in San Diego at 10 p.m. after a long day of driving. As she takes the SeaWorld Drive exit off the 5, she might be relieved to think she’s finally made it to her destination. Unfortunately, she never makes it. We may never really know why.

There Is No Test for Drowsy Driving

Drunk driving is measured by a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). When your BAC exceeds the limit, you are considered impaired and subject to arrest. Standardized breath or blood BAC measurement makes it easy for law enforcement to arrest and prosecute drunk drivers. On the other hand, there is nothing to test for if you’re driving drowsy. Drowsy driving may be the real stealth killer when there is no official explanation.

Strict Legal Consequences

Organizations like MADD have done a great job of raising awareness of the dangers of DUI, and most people are aware that DUI can result in severe penalties, including license suspension, fines, and even imprisonment. More importantly, there is a social stigma around drunk driving. There is no social stigma for simply being over-tired, but maybe we could start to be more aware of fatigue and how dangerous it is. Some people may not even be aware of the true dangers of drowsy driving and just how fatal it can be. We can try to reduce drowsy driving crashes by spreading awareness campaigns, similar to how MADD made us aware of the dangers of DUI. With the end of Daylight Savings Time coming up, now is a good time to raise awareness for yourself and those you care about.

Raising Awareness About Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving and DUI are both serious threats to road safety, but they differ in their causes, consequences, and how we address them. It’s essential to recognize that both lead to impaired driving, increasing the risk of crashes and increasing the risk of injury or death to everyone on the road. Bruno & Associates wants to raise awareness about the dangers of drowsy driving and encourage all drivers to make responsible choices. Whether it’s getting enough rest before a long trip or designating a well-rested driver after a night out, your decisions can play a critical role in making sure you get home to those you love. Being aware and staying alert is the first step in reducing this stealth killer.

A San Diego Injury Lawyer That Fights for As Long As It Takes

When you have been hurt in an accident through no fault of your own, then regardless of the cause of the accident, you need an experienced San Diego car accident attorney to hear your story. You may be entitled to compensation for things like hospital bills and missed time from work. Call Eugene Bruno & Associates at 1-888-BRUNO-88 (1-888-278-6688) for a free consultation.

Posted in: Car Accident