Sleepy Driving vs. Drunk Driving
There are plenty of stories of drunk driving and its effects, but sleepy driving is something a little less covered. There are enough studies of cerebral effects of sleep to show the comparison between driving while sleepy and drunk. While it might seem like sleepy driving is less of a problem, it is only one that happens less frequently. The severity of the issue might surprise you. You can read more about it here.
Sleepy Driving vs. Drunk Driving Statistics
While it may seem like sleepy driving is lighter offense than drunk driving, the statistics might surprise you. Someone who has gone eighteen hours without sleep has the impairment of someone with a .5 percent Blood Alcohol Content level. If this is something that is hard for you to gauge, you should consider that .8 is illegal and considered drunk. And while that level is the legal limit, there are quite a few who show actual physical traits of being drunk well before that. Someone who has been awake for twenty-four hours is functioning the same as someone who has a .10 BAC. This means that a road trip that keeps you driving for a day will likely leave you with the equal impairment of being illegally drunk while you drive. Over one hundred thousand accidents have been directly attributed to sleepy driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Sleepy Driving: What Happens
When driving and sleepy or drunk, it becomes very hard to pay attention to the road. It also affects how quickly you make decisions or react to something happening. They don’t always look the same and have similar problems or solutions. Slowing down and trying to focus on reactions is a possibility for someone who has had too much to drink. However, when you are not running on enough sleep, it can be much harder for you to fight your body. It is easier to become a better driver when you have been drinking than sleep deprived. Drowsy drivers aren’t always able to break or swerve to react since they tend to be asleep at the time. This is far likely to cause deaths and severe accidents than someone with a slow reaction which is still able to react.
Sleepy Driving: The Law
While there is no specific law for sleepy driving, it is still dangerous. There is no test to gauge how sleepy you are when you drive. Thus there can be no limits or stipulations, and no laws are set. There is also a problem proving whether someone was sleepy while driving or just got into an accident, unlike DUI/DWI laws. While there are no specific laws, it will still cause an accident. And this will leave you open to a lawsuit, prosecution by the law and liability if anyone dies. If you are in an accident because of sleepy driving and someone dies, you may face manslaughter charges. This is a very severe charge and not one you want to go to trial for. The prosecution aside, you don’t want to be responsible for someone’s life or several lives.
Sleepy Driving: Staying Alert
If you are driving and find yourself feeling sleepy or a passenger and wondering if your driver should pull over and take a nap, you may want to do it. Just asking the question is enough of a sign that you might need to. You may also want to look for the signs. These are things like: trouble focusing, yawning constantly, head bobbing, inability to remember (maybe the last stretch of road driven), and drifting from the lane. You can pull over and take a short nap, switch drivers or buy a cup of coffee. When planning your trip, plan for the largest part of your driving to be during the morning and day. This will mean that daylight will help you. Darker surroundings will make you feel sleepier and faster.
If you find yourself in a legal situation and have questions about sleepy driving or drunk driving, you should consult an attorney. You will want to find one with experience with these cases, as they tend to be a little different from general law. Attorneys tend to have focused knowledge and experience, so having a strong case will be determined by what they know and have seen in court. These are cases that can be taken care of very quickly or be drawn out and excruciating. Your lawyer will be the determining factor in that. You can start your search here. They will be able to answer any questions you may have about both drunk and sleepy driving. They will also know how best to create a strategy for your case, based on experience and knowledge of the law. There is no better defense or tool available for any case.