When a Georgia driver is behind the wheel, his or her sole responsibility is to safely operate the vehicle. This means avoiding behaviors that could be dangerous while driving, such as looking at a phone or speeding. It also means that each individual is responsible for knowing when he or she is unable to safely operate a vehicle. There are many reasons why someone should avoid driving, including being overly fatigued.
Drowsy driving is a serious danger for everyone on the road. A fatigued driver may make some of the same mistakes that a distracted or drunk driver may make, leading to a significantly higher chance of a car accident. Being tired may not seem that dangerous, but it is a common cause of motor vehicle crashes that could leave innocent people seriously or fatally injured.
The impact of fatigue
Fatigued driving is a more serious problem than many realize. Around half of all drivers admit to getting behind the wheel at some point while seriously drowsy. Approximately 20% admit they have actually fallen asleep while operating their vehicle at some point within the last years. Drowsiness affects drivers in different ways, including the following:
- Drowsiness reduces a driver’s ability to recognize and react to hazards.
- A driver will have difficulty paying attention when he or she is fatigued.
- Going without sleep for 20 hours is roughly the equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol content of .08%.
- A fatigued driver is three times more likely to be in a car crash.
It is normal to feel sleepy from time to time while driving, and this is different from getting behind the wheel while significantly fatigued. Drivers carry the responsibility of knowing when they should not be driving because they are too tired to do so safely.
Holding drivers accountable
If you are the victim of an accident caused by a fatigued driver, you have legal options available to you. Like holding a drunk or distracted driver accountable for accidents, it is possible to hold a fatigued driver accountable for his or her negligence.
A claim in the civil justice system provides you with the opportunity to seek compensation for your losses and damages. If you are unsure if this is an option for you, it may be helpful to gain information to learn how you could move forward.