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Drowsy Driving: More Common Than You Think

If you took Drivers’ Ed, you may have been shown a study regarding drunk driving vs drowsy driving. They separated the participants into two groups: the people who would drink until they were above the legal alcohol limit and the people who had to stay awake for over 24 hours. After reaching their goals, members from each group would drive on an obstacle course. The course was designed to test multiple components, one of which being reaction time. Contrary to belief, the drowsy drivers performed worse. One of the obstacles was designed to jump in front of the road, representing either a dog or child darting into the street in front of the driver. Both the drunk and drowsy participants from the study would repeatedly run over these obstacles. However, the drunk drivers more often saw the obstacle but could not react in time. The drowsy drivers in some cases wouldn’t notice it to begin with. They would barrel full speed into it, and not even process that they hit something.

Drowsy driving isn’t limited to the people that haven’t slept for over 24 hours. There are studies that claim even losing one or two hours of sleep can double your chances of an accident. You could be driving while drowsy and not realize it. Even if you’re not falling asleep behind the wheel, one of the signs of drowsy driving is not remembering the last few miles you drove. The level of exhaustion experienced plays a factor in these lapses in attention. Your brain is more likely to tune out and not process what’s going on the less sleep you get. Unfortunately, this is all too common an occurrence.

Some states punish drivers who are too sleep deprived to be on the road. New Jersey had proclaimed that driving on no sleep is equivalent to driving under the influence and will be punished accordingly. In Arkansas, it’s seen as negligent homicide. Sadly, most states do not have laws against drowsy driving. A few have declared specific dates to be dedicated to drowsy driving awareness.  However, most do not have specific laws to discourage the practice. New York State is among those without a law. Although many attempts to create a law for it have occurred, none have passed. That is why it’s good to be aware of both your own drowsiness and the potential for others around you to be afflicted with the same.

Have you, or someone you know, ever been struck by a drowsy driver? Did they fall asleep at the wheel? Were they incapable of paying attention to their driving? If so, you could be eligible for compensation.  The Licatesi Law Group has decades of experience handling cases just like this. Contact us at (516) 227-2662 and ask to speak with an attorney for a free consultation.

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