The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Exploring the Dangers of Fatigued Driving

Is it unlawful to drive while overly tired?

Drowsy driving is a top cause of accidents nationwide. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 100,000 car crashes annually are caused by tired driving, resulting in 71,000 injuries and 1,500 fatalities. In some states, driving while overtired can even result in criminal charges. Our Monmouth County, New Jersey personal injury lawyers explore the dangers of fatigued driving and how you can keep yourself safe below.

Fatigue Impacts Your Ability to Drive Safely

Our bodies require adequate sleep to be able to function properly and remain alert. Even if you are not falling asleep behind the wheel, merely driving while overtired can create a risk of accidents. Drowsy driving places drivers and other road users at immense risk of injury or death. Drowsiness can make drivers less able to focus on the road, slow a driver’s reaction time, and impact a driver’s ability to make good decisions.

Causes of Drowsy Driving

One of the top causes of drowsy driving is sleep disorders. Some 70 million people suffer from sleep disorders nationwide, and many of them go undiagnosed. An untreated sleep disorder can leave you continuously feeling drowsy, which makes for dangerous driving. Others at risk of drowsy driving include:

  • Commercial truck drivers, who spend long hours on the road;

  • Shift workers, who work long night shifts;

  • Drivers who do not get enough sleep; and

  • Drivers who use medications that can cause drowsiness.

Drowsy Driving Laws

Several states have passed laws that make it illegal to drive while overly tired. In New Jersey, a driver that has not slept in 24 hours or more is considered to be driving recklessly. Reckless driving is treated just like intoxicated driving, meaning that extremely fatigued drivers could be subject to criminal charges should they cause an injury or death.

Prevent Yourself From Driving Drowsy

Before you hit the road, make sure that you are sufficiently rested. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep to feel fully rested, while teenagers need even more sleep. If you suspect you have a sleep disorder, seek medical treatment as soon as possible and avoid driving until the condition has been stabilized. Avoid driving after taking any medication that could cause fatigue.

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