Most California drivers know that it’s dangerous to drive while drunk. However, many people don’t realize that driving while drowsy is often just as hazardous.
Around 60 percent of American drivers admit that they’ve driven while feeling sleepy. Worse, approximately one-third of drivers say they’ve dozed off while operating a vehicle. This type of behavior is just as likely to lead to a crash as drunk driving. For example, studies have found that 18 straight hours of sleep deprivation can make drivers feel like they have a blood-alcohol content level of .05. A full day without sleep can mimic a blood-alcohol content level of .10. The legal blood alcohol limit for operating a passenger vehicle in California is .08.
Drowsy drivers and drunk drivers both have a difficult time focusing on the road and making quick decisions, which increases the risk of getting into an accident. However, some fatigue-related crashes can be worse than alcohol-related accidents. This is because some drowsy drivers fall asleep and crash at full speed. In comparison, many drunk drivers tend to lessen the impact by braking or taking evasive action. Traffic safety experts say that drivers should always pull over and rest if they feel fatigued.
When motor vehicle accidents are caused by drowsy or drunk driving, the victim could sue the at-fault driver for damages. If possible, an attorney could use accident investigation results and police reports to show that a driver was sleeping in the moments leading up to a crash. This evidence could lead to the victim being awarded a settlement for damages.