According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving causes approximately 100,000 police reported car accidents in which 1,550 people are killed and 71,000 more are injured each year. While the figure could be higher—since most law enforcement officers are not properly trained to detect or identify sleep-related crashes—one would expect there is a law making fatigued driving a criminal offense, specifically in Georgia.
Unfortunately, Georgia has yet to pass any criminal legislation addressing fatigued driving. So technically, drowsy driving is not illegal in the state.
However, motorists who cause car accidents because of unsafe driving due to drowsiness or fatigue are liable for damages suffered by innocent victims. According to state law, motorists and passengers—or family members in the event of a fatality—who are injured or pass away can hold drowsy drivers liable for civil damages in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
Additionally, some victims have successfully filed claims against employers who required unreasonably long work hours and then allowed a drowsy employee to drive without examining the obvious dangers associated with fatigued driving.
Those who are more prone to drowsy driving are those who get less than six hours of sleep, work over 60 hours per week, and drive long distances without rest, and drive during their regular sleep cycle. Common causes of driver fatigue include lack of sleep, medication with a side effect of drowsiness, untreated sleep disorders, or shift work which mandates workers to drive long hours.