We hear messages in the news and on television about the dangers of drunk driving. Public service campaigns warning against drunk driving in New Jersey take place several times a year, especially during various holidays where drinking is prominent. However, one negligent behavior that can be as dangerous as drunk driving is drowsy driving.
Who is susceptible to drowsy driving?
There are a variety of circumstances that can lead to drowsy driving. Third-shift workers who commute or drive through the night can be drowsy, due to the interruption of their circadian rhythm. However, it is possible to be drowsy during the day. For example, getting a poor night’s sleep or having an untreated sleep disorder can make a person drowsy when driving the next morning. And certain medications taken day or night can make a person drowsy.
How does drowsiness affect driving?
If a person is drowsy, they may be unable to drive safely even if they do not fall asleep behind the wheel. Drowsiness can make it hard to pay attention to the road. It can also slow a driver’s ability to respond to traffic conditions. In addition, it could make it more difficult for a driver to make decisions.
Is drowsy driving really as dangerous as drunk driving?
The aforementioned effects drowsiness has on a driver is known as cognitive impairment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, staying awake for 18 hours or more is the equivalent of having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05%, impairing a driver’s ability to safely operate their vehicle.
If a driver is awake for 24 hours or more, it is the equivalent of having a BAC of 0.10%. Note that this exceeds the legal limit — 0.08% — that could impair a person so greatly that they could receive a DUI.
Were you in a car crash caused by a drowsy driver?
As this shows, drowsy driving breaches a motorist’s duty of care to drive safely. When this duty is breached and causes a car accident that injures or kills another person, the victim may have the legal option to pursue a claim against the drowsy driver. Personal injury attorneys in New Jersey may be a useful resource to those who were in a collision with a drowsy driver.