Most drivers have gotten behind the wheel while tired. It’s safe to say they didn’t realize how dangerous it was. According to the National Academy of Medicine, going without sleep for 18 hours impairs your driving as much as a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.05. Driving drowsy leads to an increased number of accidents and fatalities in Florida every year, but charges aren’t that common.
Driving while impaired
Lack of sleep or becoming fatigued behind the wheel affects drivers similarly to using alcohol or drugs. Their reactions become slower. Their overreactions become more pronounced. They might even fall asleep at the wheel. For all these reasons, driving drowsy is as dangerous as drunk driving. However, it’s not nearly as easy to prove in court.
Technically speaking, an officer could arrest you for reckless driving. You might also face a lawsuit in civil court if you cause an accident that leads to property damage or injury. Driving drowsy poses a significant personal risk as well, so there are liabilities.
According to a 2017 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving caused:
- 91,000 accidents
- 50,000 injuries
- 795 deaths
Experts say those numbers are likely much higher.
Staying awake on the road
Trucking companies have struggled with the drowsy driver problem for decades. They’ve created a few solutions you can use to help stay awake behind the wheel. Advanced driver monitoring software can help detect and alert you to a problem before an accident happens. It can also help you in court if the worst comes to worst.
Driving when you’re tired may seem inevitable, but better planning is needed to keep people safe. Staying alert and avoiding accidents is just another benefit of getting enough sleep.