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Five Family Members Die in Car Accident on Way to Disney World: Teen Driver Fell Asleep While Driving

Five Family Members Die in Car Accident on Way to Disney World: Teen Driver Fell Asleep While Driving

A fatal crash is the reminder that teen drivers are the most likely of all age groups to be involved in serious auto accidents. In an accident that made national news, three children and two adults from an East Texas family died on their way to Disney World when their sport utility vehicle veered off a highway and rolled over in Louisiana. Michael and Trudi Hardman were taking their six children on a “dream trip” when the accident occurred.

Police believe the couple’s 16-year-old son fell asleep while driving the SUV. The accident occurred around 11 p.m., after the family had been on the road for about 3 to 4 hours, reported Fox News (11.21.14).

As reported by Fox News, the teen driver veered left onto the median and then tried to get back onto the highway but overcorrected, causing the 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe to roll over. The driver and two passengers were injured, one was in critical condition. Killed in the accident were Michael and Trudi Hardman and sons Dakota Watson, 15, and Adam Hardman, 7; and daughter Kaci Hardman, 4. None of those who died in the accident were wearing seat belts.

The driver was not believed to have been impaired at the time of the crash and the weather was clear. Fox News also reported that the section of I-20 where the deadly crash took place is flat and straight.

All drivers, including teens, are susceptible to dangers caused by drowsiness. New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that more than one-in-five (21 percent) fatal crashes involve driver fatigue. One third of the crashes involving a drowsy driver resulted in injuries. The symptoms of driving when fatigued include repeated yawning, difficulty focusing, disconnected or wandering thoughts, missing traffic signs, drifting out of the lane, hitting rumble strips, and difficulty keeping one’s eyes open. Drowsy driving is comparable to driving while intoxicated.

In New York State in 2007, 4,440 drowsy driving crashes occurred with 41 deaths. According to the New York State Department of Health, male drivers ages 16 to 19 years are more likely to be involved in a drowsy driving crash as compared to drivers in any other age group. Younger drivers are at a high risk for drowsy driving because of their driving inexperience. They may not recognize the consequences of driving while tired.

To avoid the effects of drowsy driving, drivers should be well-rested before heading out on the road. Drivers should also take breaks every two hours or 100 miles, as well as travel with an alert passenger who can watch the driver for signs of fatigue. Drowsiness is a serious driving risk. Driving while sleepy can lead to mistakes with devastating consequences.

In order to successfully make a claim against a driver who was driving while tired, the victim or his or her family will need to show that the driver acted in an unreasonably careless way that directly led to the accident. This means showing that no reasonable driver would have driven the same way as the driver who allegedly caused the crash. A personal injury lawyer can help gather the proof necessary to show that the driver who caused the harm was driving while drowsy.

The Fox News story cited is “Horrific crash kills 5 family members on ‘dream trip’ to Disney World.”


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