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Drunk-drivers and tired drivers are equally impaired

The dangers of drinking and driving are well-documented, but did you know that getting behind the wheel when you are sleepy can be equally dangerous? According to a new study, being sleepy behind the wheel is almost as bad as drinking and driving. Drivers and motorists in New York should avoid driving sleepy and be wary of other fatigued drivers on the road.

Research showed that drivers who were either drunk or sleepy are twice as likely to cause a vehicle accident compared to those who are sober and well-rested. The findings are nothing groundbreaking, but they do confirm what has already been known-drinking and driving or driving while fatigued are dangerous. The experimental studies found that just four hours of sleep loss can produce as much impairment as a six-pack of beer. That means that a night of sleep loss is equivalent to a blood alcohol level of .19.

Researchers analyzed information from 679 drivers who were admitted to a hospital in southwest France for more than 24 hours because of a serious accident. Researchers used a range of information from driver questionnaires and police reported to determine the cause of the accident and who may have contributed. Drivers provided information about what medications they were taking, how much alcohol they had imbibed and how much sleep they had had the night before. Interestingly, the majority of injuries were to men over the age of 55 and those who rode motorcycles. One-third were in a car and 10 percent were on a bicycle.

Tired drivers could cause collisions and accidents, resulting in serious injury or wrongful death. If you or someone you love was involved in an accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your losses. An independent investigation may determine that a fatigued or tired driver was responsible for your accident.

Source: Reuters, "Sleepy, drunken drivers equally dangerous: study," Andrew M. Seaman, May 30, 2012.