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Wearing a Face Mask While Driving Can Cause a Car Accident

N95_Mask

While there is an ongoing debate regarding face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent car accident indicates that wearing a mask while driving may be dangerous. New Hampshire’s Bureau of Infectious Disease Control has urged residents to wear face masks in public to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

However, many drivers in New Hampshire and other states are continuing to wear face masks while operating their vehicles. If doing this, one should be careful to make sure that there mask is not creating a driving hazard. For example, while driving your face mask should not cover your eyes/prevent you from seeing your surroundings or restrict your breathing. If you wear glasses, you should not drive with fogged glassed. Particular attention should be taken if one is wearing a N95 Respiratory or other surgical masks, which are generally recommended and used by medical personnel.

Driver Passed Out, Crashed After Wearing a Face Mask While Driving

As reported by Fox 29, a driver passed out and crashed after wearing an N95 face mask for several hours. The police said the accident might have occurred due to the driver’s “excessive” wearing of the face mask. The police report says that the driver passed out and crashed the car into a power pole after wearing an N95 mask “for several hours.” The driver passed out “due to insufficient oxygen intake and excessive carbon dioxide intake.”

In the subsequent Facebook post, the police department insisted that they merely “believed” that wearing the mask for so long led to the crash. Thus, the driver’s “excessive” wearing of an N95 mask might have contributed to the accident based on the following factors:

  • The driver was wearing the mask while driving for several hours before passing out behind the wheel;
  • The fact that the driver passed out led to the crash; and
  • The initial investigation did not reveal any traces of substance or alcohol intoxication.

However, it is important to note that it was not clear whether the N95 mask was the cause of the crash as the police department also believed the driver might have passed out due to “some other medical reason.”

Why Wearing an N95 Mask While Driving May Be Dangerous.

Unlike surgical masks, N95 face masks or respirators can cut the oxygen supply by up to 20%. This, combined with additional carbon dioxide inhalation while wearing an N95 mask, can cause the wearer to feel tired, fatigued, dizzy, nausea, and result in serious medical conditions.

While N95 masks are intended to prevent the wearer from inhaling dangerous pathogens, they were not designed for long-term usage. Unfortunately, many people continue wearing these masks for extended periods of time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This, and other dangerous behavior while driving, can cause in car crashes. If you are driving, it is your obligation to make sure you are safe to drive and not endangering others on the road. Contact our Manchester car accident attorneys if you got into a vehicle crash during the coronavirus pandemic. Call the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman at 603-624-7200 for a case review. To maintain social distancing, phone and Zoom consults are available!

Resources:

apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/331693/WHO-2019-nCov-IPC_Masks-2020.3-eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

researchgate.net/publication/232738614_Evaluation_of_N95_Respirator_Use_with_a_Surgical_Mask_Cover_Effects_on_Breathing_Resistance_and_Inhaled_Carbon_Dioxide

fox29.com/news/police-excessive-wearing-of-medical-mask-possibly-caused-nj-driver-to-pass-out-crash

https://www.manningzimmermanlaw.com/new-hampshire-law-requires-motorists-to-remove-ice-and-snow-from-vehicles/

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