Drowsy driving versus drunk driving

Tennessee residents might be interested to hear that highway fatalities in the state of Tennessee have prompted the implementation of message boards in four of the state’s largest cities imploring people not to drive while drowsy. Some people even go so far as to say that driving while drowsy can be equivalent to the severity of driving while drunk.

According to federal statistics, there were more than 11,000 deaths caused by driving while drowsy between 2000 and 2010. Experts say that the problem of people getting behind the wheel without having gotten enough sleep is one that cannot be easily addressed. A person’s blood alcohol level can be measured, whereas there is no way to measure a person’s drowsiness. Some experts even go on to say that trying to pass laws about drowsiness behind the wheel is nearly impossible. Therefore, a car accident involving drowsy driving cannot be treated in the same way that one involving drunk driving can.

Some states are attempting to control the accidents caused by drowsy driving by imposing laws that commercial truck drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours a day. However, some people say such laws are flawed since the drivers have to report the hours themselves. Currently, New Jersey is the only state that has passed legislation to address drowsy driving. However, some people state that even that law is difficult to impose since the prosecution must show that the driver was awake for 24 hours straight to prove possible recklessness.

People who were injured in a car accident due to another driver being drowsy behind the wheel might consider filing a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for their medical bills and pain and suffering. Personal injury lawyers may be able to help those filing lawsuits present the evidence necessary to validate their claims.

Source: Fox 28, “Is Drowsy Driving Worse Than Drunk Driving”, May 13, 2013