Drowsy driving is a significant concern throughout the United States, and the combination of sleepiness and negligence can have devastating consequences. Massachusetts drivers who operate a vehicle while drowsy risk their safety and that of others on the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving accounts for nearly 900 fatal crashes every year.
The effects of fatigued driving are similar to that of drunk driving. Studies indicate that those who are awake for 18 hours are similar to someone having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05%. Further, being awake for 24 hours is equal to a 0.10% BAC. Moreover, sleepiness increases the effects of even small amounts of alcohol. Sleepiness makes drivers less attentive, slows reaction times, and impacts a motorist’s ability to make sound decisions.
There are many warning signs of sleepy or impaired driving. These signs include frequent yawning, difficulty remembering directions, missing exits, drifting lanes, or driving over rumble strips. Although anyone can drive while tired, some individuals are more susceptible to drowsy driving. These people typically include long-haul truck drivers, shift workers, drivers with sleep disorders, and those who use medications that make them tired. These actions can cause a driver to become involved in a severe accident.