In 2011, a New York police officer was killed when a drowsy driver smashed into his parked police cruiser. Although the sleepy truck driver responsible for causing the fatal accident was originally charged with negligent homicide, the difficulty of proving a driver's fatigue contributed to the Long Island prosecutor dropping the charges down to misdemeanor reckless driving. Although the officer's widow is likely disappointed in the verdict and sentence of $500, there are other ways to hold drowsy drivers liable for the damage they cause.
There are certain responsibilities that all drivers in New York have, one of which is to drive carefully and safely. Failing to do so not only puts others' lives at risk, but it also exposes the negligent driver to civil liability in the event of a crash. And, as many would argue that driving while extremely fatigued is negligent, the widow may wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck driver to hold him or her civilly liable.