In today's world, people are busier and busier as they try to cram as much as possible into each day. For many people in the New Orleans area, this means that sleep is often less of a priority than work, social events or countless other activities and responsibilities that can quickly use up the hours of the day. Of course, a lack of sleep can cause a variety of negative consequences over time, and perhaps one of the most dangerous is the possibility of drowsy driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration classifies drowsy driving as a type of impaired driving. This is because, just like driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, drowsiness impairs a person's ability to safely operate their vehicle.
Drowsiness, or sleepiness, while driving goes beyond situations where a person falls asleep at the wheel of a vehicle. Instead, drowsy driving can simply be any situation where the driver's mind and body are too tired to allow that person to be alert and attentive. This problem affects the driver's reaction time and it makes them more prone to using poor judgment and making bad driving decisions. All of these symptoms make a drowsy driver more likely to get into a car accident.
The NHTSA does not have exact data on drowsy driving because it can be difficult to definitively know whether a driver's sleepiness played a role in any particular accident. However, investigators can pick up on certain patterns or clues that are common when an auto accident results from a drowsy driver. Accordingly, the NHTSA estimates that tens of thousands of accidents each year are related to drowsy driving.
Just like a driver has a responsibility not to get behind the wheel when they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they also should not drive when they are too tired to do so safely. Thus, if a drowsy driver causes an accident with other people, the car accident victims are entitled to pursue compensation from that driver. Driving is dangerous enough as it is, people should not make it more dangerous by driving while drowsy.
Source: NHTSA.gov, "Research on Drowsy Driving," Accessed on Aug. 5, 2016