If there is one word that many professionals or parents would use to describe themselves, it is likely “tired.” Having more work than time is a common experience for Americans. Between long hours on the job, family obligations and basic daily needs, like meals, people don’t have enough time for everything they need to do.
Often lack of sleep is a consequence of being too busy. People stay up far longer than normal or go long stretches without real sleep because of the demands of their daily lives, and many people just assume they can drive safely despite their extreme exhaustion.
But what does fatigue do to a person’s ability to drive?
The National Safety Council compares drowsiness to alcohol impairment
There are strict regulations that limit how long truck drivers can be on the road without a break. Airline pilots are subject to similar rules. While there is no reasonable way for the government to prevent tired people from driving, it does try to warn people about the effects of fatigue on their driving skills.
The National Safety Council tells drivers that fatigue affects their ability to drive in the same ways that alcohol will. Fatigue makes it harder to pay attention. It increases reaction times and compromises decision-making ability. Simply put, fatigued drivers are a lot like drunk drivers and are more likely than the average person to cause a crash.
If you have gone 20 hours without sleep, the National Safety Council compares that to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, which is the legal limit for drivers. If you feel too exhausted to focus, you are too tired to drive.
If you are involved in a serious crash with someone who was too drowsy to drive, that person may be liable for your injuries. You have a right to seek the compensation you need for any medical bills, lost income and other expenses resulting from the crash.