A Student’s “All-nighter” Could Lead to Charges in the Case of a Crash

It is September, and that means school is back in session.  Students — particularly those enrolled in rigorous high school or college courses  — may be tempted to pull an “all-nighter”, staying up all night to complete an important assignment.

But at what cost?

Will the student doze off in class?  Fall asleep in the library the next afternoon?  These kinds of missteps are the least of a student’s (and parent’s) concern.

The greater risk is for the student who, after staying up all night, gets behind the wheel of a car. Failure to maintain control while driving is a misdemeanor charge.  But, did you know that falling asleep at the wheel can be reckless driving if the circumstances show that the driver knew or should have known that he or she should not have been driving and is likely to fall asleep behind the wheel?

Herndon injury lawyer Doug Landau tried a personal injury case in Fauquier County, Virginia where the judge told the Warrenton jury that if they found the defendant — a college student — had been driving more than 12 hours in the 24 hours leading up to the crash, he was guilty of negligence and could be found liable for all of the elderly plaintiff’s harms and losses.

If the young driver in this case should have known that driving more than 12 hours in a 24 hour period was likely to cause her to fall asleep, then surely a student who has been up all night should realize that he or she is also likely to fall asleep behind the wheel.

A jury given those same instructions would be compelled to find the “all-nighter” student guilty of negligence.  That is a big price to pay.

Parents, students — be careful.  If you are too tired to drive, please stay off the road!

If you or someone you know have been injured in a crash due to the actions of a reckless driver and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).


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