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Could drowsy driving be as dangerous as drunk driving?

If you are like other conscientious drivers across Texas, you would never consider getting behind the wheel of your vehicle after drinking enough to experience a buzz or drunk. You know that the effects of alcohol could impair your judgement and otherwise make you lose control of your faculties, and present a danger to yourself and others on the road.

Would you give the same consideration to safe driving if you were sleep-deprived? If you cannot honestly answer this question affirmatively, don't despair -- you aren't alone. Most people don't consider drowsy driving as dangerous as drunk driving. Sadly, many who have made that same assessment caused accidents involving serious or fatal injuries.

Equating fatigue with drunk driving

If you examine the effects of alcohol on the body, you may find out why drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Do you remember the mention above that alcohol causes impaired judgment? That happens when you are exhausted, too. In addition, you could experience the similar effects to the ones produced by alcohol, such as those below:

  • Diminished self-control
  • Impaired concentration
  • Inability to quickly react to emergencies
  • Poor muscle control
  • Impaired perception
  • Reduction in the ability to control the speed of your vehicle

As you can see, your body reacts similarly to both sleep deprivation and alcohol consumption. In fact, research indicates that, if you fail to sleep for 15 hours, your body reacts as if your blood alcohol concentration was 0.05. If you go a full 24 hours without sleep, that comparison jumps to a BAC of 0.10. When you consider that the legal limit here in Texas is 0.08, it becomes clear that driving drowsy is just as dangerous as drunk driving.

Who are the biggest offenders of drowsy driving?

Anyone could present a danger to you on the road because they failed to get enough sleep, but some people more commonly drive drowsy than others, including those below: 

  • Men
  • People who drive commercial vehicles, such as truck drivers
  • Teenagers
  • People who work nights, long rotational shifts or early mornings
  • People with sleep disorders, such as insomnia, sleep apnea or narcolepsy

Of course, you have no way of knowing if the driver next to you is sleep-deprived or not. Even if you end up suffering injuries due to a collision caused by someone else, you may not readily know whether it resulted from sleep deprivation. Police cannot test people for it like they can for alcohol consumption.

As you pursue the compensation you deserve, you will need to dig deeper in order to determine the factor or factors that led to the other driver's negligence, including drowsy driving. Attempting to find the evidence you need on your own could prove frustrating and fruitless. Instead, you could choose to work with an experienced attorney who has helped others like you.

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