Don’t Drive Till You’ve Read This
If you’re a drowsy driver, you could be looking at a murder charge.
It’s been a long day, and you just want to get home. You’re really tired, but you’ve got less than 10 miles to go. You figure you’ll be home in just a few minutes, so you crank up the music; maybe roll down your window…
The sound of a THUD jars you out of a daze
You slam on the brakes and look in your rear view mirror; your heart sinks when you see a person laying there. You sit there in shock for a moment, as panic grips you when you realize what just happened.
Feeling numb and surreal, you get out of your car and go back to check on them. But they’re not moving, and there’s a heck of a lot of blood coming from somewhere.
To your utter horror, you realize they’re dead, and you just killed them. Now you’re looking at a possible involuntary manslaughter charge.
But you only had a couple miles to go.
And that’s just a story. In reality that only happens to the other guy, right? Well, to me, YOU are the other guy.
What Does A Typical Drowsy Driver Look Like?
Most of the signs of a drowsy driver aren’t going to be visible to other drivers. And while a drowsy driver can be on the road at any time; most drowsy driver accidents occur around 4-6 am, midnight and 2 am, and 2-4 pm.
If you’re on the road at those times, be especially aware of any of the following:
- Male drivers in their 20’s
- Semi drivers.
- Cars pulling out of hospital parking lots (Hospital Staff working long and/or odd hours)
- Cars that swerve excessively.
But what about the not obvious signs, like:
- People with undiagnosed, or undertreated sleep apnea
- Those taking certain prescription medications that cause drowsiness
- Shift workers, and those who put in more than 60 hrs a week.
- Sleeping less than 6 hours the night before
And maybe that wasn’t a jerky driver, they just might be a drowsy driver.
So even if you don’t have a problem with drowsy driving, many do; and they could be on the road the same time you are. It’s better to think defensively, and just give people space. Remember, safety first.
Legal And Moral Implications
There are laws in various states making drowsy driving a criminal offense. In some states, you can get a reckless driving charge.
But New Jersey, if your accident causes a death, you can be charged with vehicular homicide.
However, at this time, there are no tests that can prove drowsy driving; and in many instances, if the driver doesn’t admit to it, a conviction can be very hard to get.
It’s also been shown that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. And just like been under the influence, drowsy drivers have impaired judgment; including underestimating how tired they really are.
So, should laws be enforced? And ultimately, how can you prove drowsy driving was the cause of the accident if the driver won’t confess to it?
Let’s get back to your story.
O.K., you killed that person in a state where drowsy drivers are charged with vehicular homicide. What would you do? There were no witnesses to your crime. And if you said that this person just ran out in front of you, and you didn’t even have time to react, you could avoid a prison sentence.
So, you can tell it like it is and face possible criminal charges, or you can lie and say this person ran out in front of you, and you couldn’t stop.
What’s it gonna be? Just an accident, or a criminal activity? Remember, you, the driver, are the only witness.
Of course, we’d like to believe we’re very moral in all our conduct; and you hopefully do have a conscience. But this is a real issue, and without a confession, the law has a hard time actually determining drowsy driving as a cause.
I’m not implying or condoning lying in this case, but I hope you’re getting the magnitude of this issue. Because while getting in an accident is unfortunate; drowsy driving could (or should) be a criminal offense.
Effective Measures You Can Take To Avoid Being A Drowsy Driver
So, how do you avoid a possible prison term?
The most effective measure is a 20-30 minute nap; although most people use other options. Turning up the radio and/or rolling down the window are more common, though less effective, ways.
Other methods include:
- Drinking caffeinated beverages.
- Not staring at the division line
- Slapping yourself
- Talking wth a passenger
- Rotating drivers
Be safe, and be aware!!
Do you know anyone that’s fallen asleep at the wheel? Or have you fallen asleep at the wheel?
Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, and really should be treated as such; Because your judgement’s impaired when you’re drowsy.
So even if you take all the precautions making sure you’re not a drowsy driver, there are others who will be. And that someone could be on the road right next to you…or coming at you.
Don’t bet on your life, or someone else’s; a 20 -30 minute nap could save a life.
Keywords: Drowsy driving, drowsy driving accidents, drowsy driving laws
See NCSL.org for drowsy driving laws in various states.