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Florida law memorializes victim of drowsy driving accident

The family of a Tallahassee, Florida, girl who was killed in a collision caused by a drowsy driver is attempting to make some good come out of a terrible tragedy. The 8-year-old girl was killed when her school bus was struck by cement truck being driven by a sleepy driver.

Since 2010, under the Ronshay Dugans Act, the first week of September has been designated as "Drowsy Driving Prevention Week" to draw attention to the problem of accidents caused by sleepy drivers.

This year, the week has been marked by events which includes a press conference reminding drivers of the dangers of driving while drowsy, the giving out of free coffee at the Exit 196 rest area on Interstate Highway 10, and a candlelight vigil.

The problem of drivers getting behind the wheel when they are too sleepy to drive safely remains a serious issue in Florida and nationally. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than 1,500 people die annually from car accidents involving a drowsy driver and thousands more are injured.

The Ronshay Dugans Act, although well-intentioned, may not result in the prevention of all drowsy driving accidents or alleviate the physical and financial harm that they cause. Especially when such an incident leads to serious car accident injuries, the medical expenses that can follow can keep coming for years and put significant financial strain on a grieving family.

In many cases of accidents caused by a negligent driver, it may be possible to pursue legal action against that driver. If the vehicle that the drowsy driver was operating was a commercial vehicle, it may also be possible to pursue a claim against the driver’s employer. Determining whether personal injury or wrongful death claims may be appropriate can be difficult; however, victims and their families can work with an attorney to better understand their options.

Source: WCTV, "Don't Drive Drowsy," Natalie Rubino, Sept. 1, 2014

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