Driving While Drowsy

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving  causes over 100,000 crashes per year, leaving 71,000 people injured and 1,500 dead.

What many people do not realize is that lack of deep, restful sleep can impair the human brain as much as alcohol. Driving while drowsy can result in erratic behavior behind the wheel, including over-correcting and following too close to other vehicles, which in turn can lead to collisions with serious injuries or death.

With an increased awareness of the danger of drowsy driving, many legislatures have crafted laws to address the rising number of crashes. In many states,  “drowsy driving” is treated like a DUI when it comes to filing charges. Oregon was one of the first states to attempt to pass laws on drowsy driving. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass.

In the event of a collision caused by a drowsy driver, the injured person  has the right to bring a civil case against the driver for negligence. Like any other civil case, the party who was at fault can be held liable and required to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other harms and losses they cause.

Be alert while on the road. If you feel tired or sluggish, take a short nap to freshen up. Don’t put yourself or others at risk with drowsy driving.

The Corson & Johnson Law Firm, an Oregon personal injury trial law firm, produced and distributed The Law and You as a public service to help families and consumers answer questions about our legal system and how it works for them. The Law and You spots were aired on KKNU, KMGE, KEUG, and KODZ.  Please note that laws may have changed since a public service spot was aired.  If you have suggestions for legal questions or topics you would like addressed, please contact us.