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Is Drowsy Driving Worse than Drunk Driving?

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2022 | Car Accidents, Safety Tips

When Kentuckians think about dangers on the road, one of the primary areas of focus will be on drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is commonly known how drunk driving negatively impacts drivers and increases the chances of an auto accident. Their reaction time is reduced, judgment is impaired, and they have a greater chance of making mistakes.

However, there are other ways in which drivers can be a danger to themselves and others, and some are woefully underappreciated. Specifically, this includes drowsy driving. If there was an accident with seemingly no explanation and the driver was not under the influence, it could have been because of drowsiness. This should be examined when considering the options to pursue compensation.

Drowsy Driving vs Drunk Driving—Experts Debate

The Sleep Foundation found that half of American adults say they have driven when they were drowsy. Around one in five people fell asleep behind the wheel. In the previous month when their survey was taken, one in 25 said they fell asleep while driving.

Regarding drunk driving in comparison to drowsy driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2017, there were nearly 800 deaths and approximately 50,000 injuries in the estimated 91,000 drowsy driving collisions that happened. That same year, there were almost 10,000 alcohol-related fatal collisions – around 30% of all fatal accidents.

The problem with drowsy driving is that it is harder to determine when a person should hesitate before driving. Some clear signs of drowsy driving include frequent yawning, having trouble keeping your eyes open, not remembering the past few miles and weaving on the road.

The above-mentioned dangers to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs also hold true for drowsy driving. Drivers could be impeded in judgment, have diminished reflexes and make mistakes they would not otherwise make if they were fully awake and alert.

In our modern society, since people are so busy, they tend to be deprived of the necessary sleep to be fully functional. If a person is awake for 18 consecutive hours, their driving abilities mimic those of people whose blood-alcohol concentration would measure 0.05%. When it extends to 20 hours, it is the legally impaired level of 0.08%. With 24 hours, it is 0.1%.

Some States Dedicate Resources to Combat Drowsy Driving

The problem of drowsy driving has become so troubling that Florida has initiated a month-long campaign to combat it. In 2021, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles stated there were nearly 4,000 accidents in the state because of drowsiness. The month is dedicated to educating drivers as to how problematic drowsy driving is. They are encouraged to stop and rest if they begin to feel sleepy or experience any of the other symptoms of drowsy driving.

There are certain times at which people tend to be drowsier. Driving at night is one such time. For every 100 miles traveled or every two hours, they should take a rest break. It is even beneficial to pull over at a safe area and nap. When there are other licensed drivers in the vehicle, sharing the driving duties can avoid tiredness and give the non-driver a chance to rest.

Drowsiness Should Be Considered as a Factor After a Crash

Finding evidence as to why an auto accident occurred is a fundamental part of holding the driver who caused the accident accountable. This is part of the “make ‘em pay” philosophy that is needed when striving for maximum compensation for all that was lost.

The case itself can be difficult to determine why the accident happened and if there were no weather issues, or no clear sign that the other driver was under the influence or distracted, it is imperative to discern if they might have been drowsy.

A driver inexplicably drifting into the opposite lanes and causing a head-on crash is one example of when drowsiness could have been a factor. From the start, calling those who are experienced in auto accidents and have been pursuing claims for many years can be the key aspect of a successful case.


If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and you suspect drowsy driving was involved, don’t hesitate. Call TJ today at (502) 262-1716 for your free no-commitment case evaluation.