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Are Most Drivers Unaware of The Dangers of Drowsy Driving?

December 01, 2013

According to research, drivers seem to treat sleepy driving like they do texting and driving.  The majority of drivers purport to recognize the risk of driving when a person is too sleepy, but they disregard that risk much like with texting and driving and even intoxicated driving in some cases.  The AAA study revealed that 85 percent of those surveyed characterized driving while a person is so tired that he or she was struggling to keep his eyes open as “completely unacceptable.”

Are there many fatalities caused by sleep drivers?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately one in six crashes are caused by drivers who are too exhausted to drive safely.  The federal agency also presumes that these statistics are dramatically understated because evidence to prove a driver was operating a motor vehicle while impaired by lack of sleep does not generally exist.  This means that unless the driver is actually observed dozing off behind the wheel by a witness or admits to falling asleep behind the wheel, there may be no way to confirm that lack of sleep caused the accident. 

How do drowsy driving and alcohol impaired driving present similar motor vehicle accident risks?

The diminished physical driving skills and mental activity exhibited by a motorist who is functioning without enough sleep is comparable to the mental and physical deficits exhibited by drivers intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.  These deficiencies in one’s driving skills include:

  • Difficulty in paying attention (mind wandering)
  • Slowed reflexes and reaction time
  •  Impaired judgment and decision-making
  • Decreased visual acuity

The similarity between drunk driving and sleepy driving has been quantified in several studies, including one published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.  The study analyzed factors in car accidents and found that both drowsy driving and alcohol-impaired driving doubled the risk of being involved in a car crash.

Does drowsy driving constitute negligence under Georgia personal injury law?

While operating a motor vehicle when you are too sleepy to do so safely generally would constitute a failure to take reasonable care to prevent foreseeable injury to others, the task of proving that the accident occurred because of driver fatigue may be difficult.  In most instances, the basis for liability will be some driving error made by the defendant because of the fatigue.

Put Our Law Firms' Over 37 Years of Experience to Work for You!

If you or a family member suffers injury or you lose a loved one because of a tired driver, an experienced Georgia car accident lawyer at Montlick and Associates is available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast.  

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.