Personal injury attorney in Rancho Cucamonga handles drowsy driving accident lawsuit cases.

The Causes and Consequences of Drowsy Driving Accidents in Rancho Cucamonga

Drowsy driving has become an alarming issue in California and throughout the US, and it continues to pose a growing threat to the safety of our roadways. Our fast-paced, modern lifestyle, along with increasing professional and personal demands has led to more and more people choosing to drive while sleepy or fatigued.

Drowsy driving contributes to a large number of auto accidents each year, with estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicating around 100,000 police-reported crashes, nearly 800 fatalities, and about 50,000 injuries annually. These statistics, however, are believed to represent just the tip of the iceberg. The actual figures may be significantly higher as it is challenging to establish if a driver was fatigued at the time of an accident.

A study commissioned by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that a shocking 328,000 drowsy driving crashes occur each year – a figure over three times higher than the police-reported number. This research indicates that out of these accidents, approximately 109,000 crashes resulted in injury and about 6,400 were fatal. The economic implications are also severe, with the annual societal cost of fatigue-related crashes resulting in injury or death estimated at $109 billion, excluding property damage.

Understanding Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving, simply put, is the dangerous combination of driving and sleepiness or fatigue. This could be due to a lack of adequate sleep, long work hours, shift work, untreated sleep disorders, medications, or alcohol consumption. When you are behind the wheel, it’s crucial to be alert and focused. Drowsiness significantly hinders these critical attributes, increasing the risk of accidents.

Driving while fatigued has an array of detrimental effects on a driver’s skills and abilities. Fatigue impairs cognition and hinders the ability to pay attention to the road. The drowsy driver may experience slower reaction times to potential hazards, which could prove fatal when driving at high speeds or in hazardous conditions. Decision-making skills can also be affected, with fatigued drivers more likely to make risky choices, such as not stopping at a red light or not slowing down in a construction zone.

Perhaps one of the most concerning aspects of drowsy driving is the potential for ‘microsleeps.’ These are brief episodes of sleep or near-sleep, lasting anywhere from a fraction of a second to 30 seconds. During these episodes, the driver is essentially unconscious and completely unaware of their surroundings. Experiencing a microsleep while driving can obviously result in catastrophic consequences, especially when traveling at high speeds.

Who is Most Likely to Drive While Drowsy in Rancho Cucamonga?

Several groups of people are more likely to drive while fatigued or sleepy, these include:

  • Shift Workers: Those who work night shifts, early morning shifts, or long shifts are particularly vulnerable. They often have disrupted sleep cycles, leading to excessive tiredness and fatigue, which can dangerously spill over into their driving.
  • Commercial Drivers: Drivers of trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles often operate their vehicles for extended periods and during the night, making them susceptible to drowsiness.
  • Young Drivers: Particularly those aged between 17 and 24, young drivers are prone to drowsy driving. Late-night social activities, studying, part-time jobs, and a general lack of sleep can all contribute to fatigue in this age group.
  • Business Travelers: People who travel frequently for work, often across different time zones, are likely to experience jet lag and irregular sleep patterns, which can lead to drowsiness.
  • People with Sleep Disorders: Individuals with untreated sleep disorders like sleep apnea or insomnia are more prone to daytime drowsiness, increasing the risk of drowsy driving.


Among these groups, commercial truck drivers are particularly susceptible to drowsiness while behind the wheel. They often have to meet strict deadlines, leading to long hours on the road without adequate breaks for rest. The sedentary nature of the job, along with irregular eating habits and the physical toll of controlling large vehicles can significantly contribute to fatigue. Moreover, these drivers often travel long distances on highways, where the monotonous driving environment can exacerbate feelings of tiredness.

Commercial trucks are significantly larger and heavier than most other vehicles, meaning that any collision involving a truck can have devastating consequences. Therefore, drowsy driving in the commercial truck industry is a significant concern when it comes to road safety here in Rancho Cucamonga.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of fatigue can help prevent a potentially catastrophic accident. Here are some common indications that a motorist might be too tired to continue driving:

  • Frequent Yawning or Blinking: This is your body’s way of trying to stay awake. When you are fatigued, you may find yourself yawning repeatedly or blinking to clear your vision.
  • Difficulty Remembering Recent Miles Driven: If you can’t recall the past few miles you’ve traveled, this can be a sign of drowsy driving. Your mind might be “zoning out” due to fatigue.
  • Missing Traffic Signs or Exits: Fatigue can result in slower reaction times and a lack of focus, which may lead to missing important traffic signs, exits, or turns.
  • Drifting From Your Lane: A clear indication of drowsiness is when the vehicle begins to drift into other lanes or onto the shoulder.
  • Frequent Head Nods or Closing of Eyes: If you catch yourself nodding off or closing your eyes, even for a moment, this is a severe sign of drowsiness and an immediate danger signal.
  • Feeling Restless or Irritable: Fatigue can make you restless, and the inability to concentrate can lead to irritability.
  • Feeling the Need to Stretch or Move: This can be a sign that your body is trying to combat fatigue and stay alert.


Understanding and recognizing these signs are crucial in preventing accidents related to drowsy driving. If you identify any of these symptoms in yourself while driving, it is a sign that you should pull over and take a break.

The Consequences of Drowsy Driving in Rancho Cucamonga

Drowsiness or fatigue poses severe risks not just to the driver, but also to other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians sharing the road. These risks often result in perilous outcomes and have legal repercussions for those found liable.

Potential Outcomes of Rancho Cucamonga Drowsy Driving Accidents

Drowsy driving can lead to disastrous accidents, ranging from minor collisions to fatal crashes. The decreased awareness and slow response time associated with fatigue can lead to scenarios like head-on collisions, rear-end crashes, or veering off the road entirely. Victims may sustain serious injuries like broken bones, spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, and even fatal injuries.

Legal Implications and Liabilities for Drowsy Driving-Related Crashes

In California, while there is no specific law against drowsy driving, drivers are still required to operate their vehicles responsibly. If drowsy driving leads to an accident, the sleepy or fatigued driver may be held liable for negligent driving. This could result in significant legal consequences, including fines, increased insurance premiums, and potential lawsuits from accident injury victims.

Contact Muhareb Law Group if Injured in a Rancho Cucamonga Drowsy Driving Accident

Driving while drowsy or fatigued is a dangerous but often overlooked problem on the roadways. Modern lifestyle demands, combined with increased susceptibility among certain groups contribute to a rising trend in drowsy driving-related crashes. Being able to identify the signs of drowsiness and understanding its impact on driving skills can play a critical role in preventing such accidents.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drowsy driving accident, it is essential to seek legal help immediately. Muhareb Law Group has successfully represented numerous clients in the Rancho Cucamonga area who have been injured in vehicle crashes, and we are dedicated to helping injury claimants navigate the legal process and secure the best possible outcome.

Contact us today at (909) 519-5832 or message us online to set up a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys. We look forward to serving you!