Is drowsy driving as dangerous as drunk driving?

Drowsy driving is a serious threat that endangers drivers, passengers and pedestrians in New York every day.

The majority of drivers in New York recognize that driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous to themselves and others on the road with them. However, many drivers do not realize that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as driving drunk.

Comparing drunk and drowsy driving

According to the National Sleep Foundation, driving while sleep deprived has similar effects on the body as driving under the influence of alcohol. For instance, drivers who are awake for 18 hours in a row experience similar effects to driving with a blood alcohol content level of .05. Those who drive after being awake for a full 24 hours experience similar effects to driving with a BAC level of .10, which is considered illegal in the state of New York.

Drivers who operate a vehicle fatigued have a hard time paying attention to the road in front of them and making fast decisions behind the wheel, just like drunk drivers. However, drowsy driving and drunk driving often appear differently because drunk drivers often try to react to situations on the road, but drowsy drivers can start to fall asleep while travelling at the same speed. For this reason, drowsy drivers often do not brake or swerve when something occurs in front of them on the road.

The scope of the problem

Drowsy driving is responsible for many serious accidents in New York and throughout the U.S. every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2014 alone, 846 fatalities were a result of a drowsy driving-related car accidents. Additionally, there were an estimated average of 83,000 accidents every year related to drowsy driving between 2005 and 2009.

Drivers should remember that the best way to prevent serious car accidents caused by fatigue is to get between seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Those going on a long road trip should also make it a priority to get enough rest the night before to ensure anyone travelling with them is not at risk. Additionally, those who take a medication that causes drowsiness should consider an alternate route of transportation besides driving.

Reach out to an attorney

Those who are injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver may incur serious injuries that cause emotional, financial and physical harm. For this reason, drivers injured in a drowsy driving-related crash should reach out to an attorney in their area for guidance regarding their legal rights.