The New York Times reports that Florida, Texas, and Arizona have each set records for the greatest number of cases reported in a single day, with 2,622 cases reported in Texas in a single day recently, and these figures only going up. This increase raises alarms because there is a greater risk of disease spread if more people are sick. Could such a spike in COVID-19 cases also mean that drivers might be at risk? In other words, is it dangerous to be driving while sick with COVID-19?
Several years ago CBS News published an article titled: “Is driving with a cold as dangerous as driving drunk?” Researchers studied the reaction times and driving ability of participants who were sick with a cold. The study found that those who were sick with a cold had slower reaction times, were more likely to brake suddenly and more often, were less likely to be aware of surrounding traffic, and were more likely to drive erratically. Ultimately, researchers concluded that driving while sick with a cold resulted in a 50% reduction in driving ability. This is the same reduction in driving ability as someone drinking four double whiskeys.
So, what does this mean for those sick with the coronavirus who might be thinking of driving? If you have cold symptoms, don’t get behind the wheel. Given that the symptoms of COVID-19 can be far more serious than the common cold, it is especially important that drivers not get behind the wheel while feeling sick. The Robson Law Firm is a car accident law firm in Austin, Texas that works with individuals who have been hurt in car accidents. There are many reasons why car accidents occur, fatigue and sickness are potentially one of them. What can you do if you’ve been in an accident where the other driver may have been at fault due to fatigue and sickness? First, always call the police, make a police report, and seek medical help. Take photos of the accident scene, exchange contact information with other drivers, and let your insurance company know what happened. Finally, if you have questions about your rights under the law, consider reaching out to the Austin, Texas car accident lawyer at the Robson Law Firm today.
But Can I Sue a Driver Who Drove While Sick with COVID-19?
Can you sue a driver for negligence if he or she drives while sick with COVID-19? There is no law on the books that says that driving with a common cold is against the law. But the CDC has issued guidelines for truck drivers asking that truck companies have a plan in place for what should happen if a truck driver gets sick while on the road. And with public health warnings across the country asking those who are sick to stay home, victims of car accidents who are hurt because another driver was fatigued or negligent while sick may have options when it comes to seeking damages for a car accident. Still, there is no law on the books against driving with a cold. However, driving while impaired is against the law. This means that if you have taken cold medicine that can interfere with your ability to drive, you could be held legally responsible if you end up in an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, common cold medications, sleep aids, and over the counter medicines can lead to nausea, blurred vision, and drowsiness, conditions which can impact a person’s ability to drive safely. If you are already taking other types of medications, some cold medicines can have an adverse effect on individuals when these drugs are mixed. For example, anxiety drugs, antidepressants, products with codeine, sleeping pills, and some types of pain relievers could impact your ability to drive safely, according to the FDA. If you are taking medicines to treat cold symptoms, it might be best to avoid getting behind the wheel. If you are already taking medicines to treat another condition, you might want to speak to your doctor about how these medicines might interact with cold medicine.
At the end of the day, people who are exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus are being asked to stay home. Given that driving while sick is also risky to others on the road, this is just another reason to avoid getting behind the wheel. But, if you or someone you love was hurt in a car accident where the other driver was at fault, you may have the right to seek damages for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and rehabilitation expenses. Contact the car accident lawyers at the Robson Law Firm in Austin, Texas today. Our attorneys can help you with your case. Or, reach out to USAttorneys.com to get matched with the car accident lawyer at the Robson Law Firm who may be able to help you with your personal injury claim.