Anne Arundel County, MD, Woman Dies in Possible Drowsy Driving Accident

A head-on accident between a passenger car and an SUV in Pasadena, Maryland, killed an 80-year-old woman this past week in what could be a fatal case of drowsy driving. According to reports, the crash allegedly resulted from the victim’s son dozing off behind the wheel, although the time of day — 10:30 a.m. — is somewhat perplexing for this type of accident. Police are still investigating the collision.

Every year, our law firm handles numerous Maryland car accident cases similar to this one. The professional legal team at Lebowitz-Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers is very familiar with the many causes of passenger car, pickup truck and SUV crashes. Whether a result of driver error, mechanical defect or drunk driving, our attorneys have the experience to fight for the accident victims’ best interests. In this situation, drowsy driving may have been a factor in the tragic crash.

According to Anne Arundel County fire officials, the accident happened at Fort Smallwood Road near Carroll Road, when the car carrying Irene G. Ratcliff apparently drifted into oncoming traffic, crashing head-on with a Ford Explorer.

Ratcliff died of injuries sustained during the crash. Her son, Herbert Ray Ratcliff, 64, was taken by ambulance to Maryland Shock Trauma Center with serious but not life-threatening injuries. Based on the initial police investigation, the police believe that the son fell asleep at the wheel and drifted into the northbound lane.

This accident highlights the increasing problem of drowsy driving. Longer working hours, family obligations and other activities can reduce the amount of sleep a person gets. Although it seems less serious than other traffic offenses, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, the consequences of drowsy driving can be very serious, as evidenced this past week.

Drowsy driving is a vexing problem for traffic safety officials. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is a factor in more than 100,000 vehicle crashes annually, likely resulting in more than 1,500 deaths and 40,000 injuries around the country — and these may be conservative figures. Many experts say the nation’s progress against drowsy driving is about where the campaign against drunken driving was 30 years ago.

If you or a family member has been injured in a vehicle accident, regardless of the cause, we recommend that you enlist the professional legal services of a qualified Maryland Car Accident Law Firm. We invite you to contact Lebowitz-Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers for a complimentary initial consultation to discuss your case and understand your rights as a victim of a passenger car, SUV or motorcycle accident.

Woman, 80, dies in Anne Arundel crash,, May 20, 2009
Wake-up call: Drowsy drivers are serious threat,, April 14, 2009

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