Drunk or drowsy driving: Both can be lethal

Posted By Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge || Jun 4, 2014

By this point, a great majority of drivers probably understand that drunk driving is incredibly dangerous. Between criminal penalties and public awareness campaigns, this idea should be crystal clear.

The reality is, however, that people continue to suffer the consequences of others deciding to drive under the influence -- and accident statistics demonstrate this. As we discussed in an article on our firm's site, surveys of drivers show that fewer people are drinking and driving as each year passes. Despite this shift, alcohol-related accident fatality rates have remained steady for about two decades. Since 1994, drunk driving accidents have accounted for roughly one-third of traffic deaths.

Beyond drunk driving, motorists also seem to misjudge their ability to operate a vehicle safely in other ways. A recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggest that nearly 100,000 car accidents are caused by drowsy driving each year. As a result of these crashes, at least 71,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths have been reported.

The problem is that driving while fatigued can have nearly the same effect as driving under the influence of alcohol. In fact, federal officials indicate that going without sleep for 24 hours is equivalent to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent, which is over Tennessee's legal limit. Those who work overnight shifts, for example, might fall into this kind of situation.

Whether it's driving drunk or drowsy, motorists have the potential to cause significant harm to others. Before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, motorists have a responsibility to determine whether they have the capacity to operate their vehicles safely.

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