Driving while drowsy can be very dangerous, and it’s often compared to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When drivers get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while fatigued, they are taking a chance of causing a car accident because of impaired judgment and decreased reaction time.
Accidents caused by drowsy driving can happen any time, day or time. The only way to be sure you are not driving drowsy is to be careful to get enough sleep. It may not be easy to determine if other drivers around you are affected by sleep deprivation or fatigue, but at any given time there’s a good chance some of them are.
The Problem of Drowsy Driving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that as many as 1 in 25 drivers reported falling asleep while driving in a 30-day period. People who drive while drowsy include:
- People who work the night shift or work long shifts
- People who have sleep disorders or don’t get enough sleep for other reasons
- Commercial truck drivers
- People who take medication that makes them sleepy
- People trying to complete a long trip or driving through the night at times when they would normally be asleep
California Laws on Drowsy Driving
It’s difficult to pass laws specific to drowsy driving because it’s hard to prove that the reason an individual caused an accident was related to drowsiness. While tests can prove if someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving while fatigued may not be able to be proven.
This doesn’t mean that drivers in California can get away with driving drowsy. If a driver is observed driving in a way that is clearly a danger to others, he or she may face charges that can range from mild to severe.
What is Reckless Driving?
Drowsy driving can be considered a form of reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor that can be penalized by up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. Reckless driving means driving with wanton disregard for the safety of other persons or property.
A driver who is charged with reckless driving may also face consequences such as having their license revoked, having automobile insurance premiums increased or having the policy canceled altogether. If drowsy driving results in very serious injuries or death, the penalties the driver faces may increase, especially if there have been prior convictions for reckless driving.
Signs of Drowsy Driving
A driver who is operating a vehicle while fatigued may show some of the same signs that someone under the influence of substances would show. They may run through red lights or stop signs, cross into other lanes of traffic or swerve onto the wrong side of the road or into the breakdown lane.
A drowsy driver may actually slur their words, stagger or have watery eyes. If someone exhibits these symptoms, a law enforcement officer may mistake them for a drunk driver.
If You Have Been Injured in a Car Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, and you believe the other driver was drowsy or otherwise negligent, it’s in your best interest to discuss what happened with an expert in the field of personal injury law. While it may be difficult to prove for sure that the other driver was drowsy, witness statements or pictures from the scene of the accident may help to prove that they were driving recklessly.
Get in touch with Kuvara Law Firm by contacting us here. We understand the pain that you may be experiencing because of a reckless driver and we want to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.