Fresno drivers are among the many motorists throughout the state of California and the country that may be affected by drowsy driving. This phenomenon has garnered more publicity over the past few years and has made its mark with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In fact, the NHTSA estimates that while both sleepiness and alcohol can individually cause accidents, data collected by NHTSA show that the two overlap. A study conducted by NHTSA showed evidence that drivers had consumed some amount of alcohol in almost 20% of all drowsiness-related, single-vehicle crashes.
Researchers looked to laboratory studies to help predict and explain this seemingly common occurrence. Scientists have explained that when drowsiness and alcohol interact with each other, the combination will lead a detrimental reaction. To get technical, a driver's psychomotor skills will be more negatively affected by the combination than if he was subjected to only one of the elements. Researchers associated with this NHTSA study also noted the possibility of low levels of blood alcohol interacting with circadian rhythms that produces drowsiness in the afternoon and evening.
Along with this research, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) states that drowsiness can diminish driving performance as much or even more so than alcohol. The vast majority of individuals can agree that drunk driving is an issue that requires attention. However, most are not as familiar with the dangers of drowsy driving. Facts seem to indicate that even if you have consumed a “legal amount” of alcohol before getting behind the wheel, when combined with drowsy driving, you may be headed towards criminal charges.
The NSF also states that, during this past year, 60% of drivers have admitted to driving while feeling drowsy and 37% have admitted to even falling asleep while driving. The NSF has compiled a list of indicators that can be used to alert a driver that he needs to get off the road:
- Difficulty focusing;
- Wandering thoughts;
- Missing exits or other traffic signs;
- Frequent yawning and/or rubbing your eyes;
- Trouble keeping your head up;
- Drifting in and out of lanes; and
- Feelings of restlessness or irritability.
Many of these symptoms can be mistaken for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. In fact, most law enforcement personnel will not know the difference and arrive at the default conclusion that you were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs when, in fact, you may just be tired. If you are in this situation, it is best to not be intimidated by the officer and situation and offer any statements for him to use against you. DO NOT TALK!
Like many other charges, time is of the essence for alcohol related crimes. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest will help to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact DUI attorney, Terry A. Wapner and ensure you have someone who will fight against an unjustified and unsubstantiated DUI arrest.