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Is drowsy driving the new drunk driving?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2021 | Car Accidents |

Drivers in Georgia and other states have been involved in 91,000 car accidents caused by drowsy driving, according to the most recent statistics. The sad truth is that most people don’t even realize the dangers of drowsy driving.

A look at the statistics

Out of the 91,000 car accidents known to be caused by drowsy drivers, 795 people were killed, and 50,000 people were injured in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A recent poll of adult American drivers revealed that 50% of them have driven drowsy. About 20% of the people surveyed admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel of their vehicle within the past year. That’s a significant number of people who are participating in the dangerous activity of drowsy driving.

Why is drowsy driving so dangerous?

One of the best ways to see why drowsy driving is so dangerous is to compare it to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Both drowsiness and intoxication reduce a driver’s sense and his or her ability to react rationally. Common impairment issues that drowsy driving produces are a lack of vigilance, a reduction in reaction time, and an increase in poor judgment. All of these impairments, which are similar to drunk driving, can result in dangerous car accidents.

Researchers even studied the correlation between the number of hours of being awake and a driver’s level of impairment as compared to being impaired by drugs or alcohol. It was discovered that when a person lacked 20 hours of sleep, his or her driving ability was as impaired as a drunk driver having a BAC of .08%. Even more astounding, a drowsy driver lacking 24 hours of sleep shows impairment equivalent to that of having a BAC of .1%.

After reading through this article, it becomes very clear that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. As the 21st century continues to be an even busier society, more and more people are climbing behind the wheel when they are overly fatigued. These drowsy drivers are not only putting themselves at risk, but they’re also putting all the other drivers on the roadway at risk.