Whether you are heading home from a long night at work or on a long road trip, drowsy driving can hit you at nearly anytime of the day or night. And in many of these cases, opening a window and turning up the music doesn’t help. It’s estimated that 11,000 people died because of drowsy drivers between 2000 and 2010. The truly sad thing about that figure is that all of these deaths were preventable.
People don’t often think about the effects of getting behind the wheel when they are tired. However, driving while drowsy is reportedly as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The difference between driving while drowsy and driving under the influence is in the way that they can be used against an at-fault driver when an accident occurs.
When an accident happens, it is likely that you’ll only know that the other driver was sleepy if he or she admits it to investigators. And then, to hold them criminally responsible for driving while drowsy can be an added obstacle to surmount. As reported by the Associated Press, “quantifying drowsy driving is not an exact science.”
In other words, prosecutors have a difficult time trying to hold a sleepy driver responsible for an accident in criminal court. This is why justice for these accidents is more commonly found in civil courts, where the burden of proof is lower.
Drowsy driving is actually only illegal in New Jersey. Elsewhere, it is the behavior that results from drowsy driving that is subject to law. For instance, if the fact that you are drowsy leads to reckless driving, you can only be charged with reckless driving.
The key to helping reduce the number of drowsy driving accidents on U.S. highways is first to be aware of when you may become sleepy behind the wheel, doing things to prevent that from happening, and remedying the situation if you find yourself getting drowsy.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the best way to handle sleepy driving is to ensure that you aren’t sleep deprived to begin with. And, if you get sleepy while behind the wheel, stop. Get a cup of coffee and take a 15-minute power nap. The NHTSA cautions that opening the windows, turning up the music, and chewing gum are unlikely to help. Sleep and caffeine, however, may help.
Atlanta Drowsy Driving Accidents
If you are the victim of a drowsy or reckless driver, you may be suffering from the serious injuries and mental stress that can accompany any traumatic event. The attorneys of The Millar Law Firm may be able to help you get justice for these injuries through a personal injury claim. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.