Driving While Intoxicated vs Driving While Drowsy

At a glance, this comparison seems like it might not even be worth the effort. However, scientific evidence all points to sleep deprivation being as dangerous, if not even more dangerous than driving after a few drinks. Does this mean that it’s okay to have one for the road? Absolutely not. Unfortunately, the pertinent takeaway is that drivers should be cautious to get behind the wheel if they are not fully rested. Today, our attorneys will be looking at the effects of both exhaustion and inebriation on motor vehicle operation and discussing the dangers of both.

Call our office today if you or a loved one has been injured in a car accidentmotorcycle accidentpedestrian accidents, or any other kind of motor vehicle accident involving a drunk or sleep deprived driver.

Mercer County Auto Accident Injury Attorneys: Effects of Alcohol on Drivers

Nearly thirty percent of all fatal traffic accidents involved alcohol in 2015. In that same year, there were over 100 million self-reported acts of driving drunk, and 1.1 million arrests for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs. Not only is driving drunk illegal, but it can be extremely dangerous due to the following impacts it can have on drivers:

  • Reaction time and alertness are lowered with as little as 0.05 blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
  • Compromised coordination. Control over muscles, balance, speech centers, and vision are all lessened at around 0.08 percent BAC
  • Inhibitions are lessened, judgement is effected, and reasoning is compromised at 0.08 percent BAC
  • Short term memory issues at 0.08 BAC
  • At 15 percent BAC, muscle control is severely impaired, balance becomes a major issue, reaction times are further increased, and individuals may experience vomiting or loss of consciousness

Princeton Personal Injury Lawyers: Effects of Exhaustion on Drivers

Similar to driving while intoxicated, exhausted drivers experience impairments to both their physical and cognitive abilities. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, it is estimated that as many as 6,000 fatal motor vehicle accidents are caused by tired driving each year. The effects of drowsy driving include:

  • Distraction and inability to focus. This is actually often the most dangerous aspect of driving without proper rest. The sometimes hypnotizing feelings we can experience when traveling on familiar roads or featureless highways can be deadly when sleep deprived
  • Longer reaction times in response to stimuli
  • Impaired vision and cognitive functioning
  • Decision making and reasoning are weakened

Driving Drunk vs. Driving Drowsy Scientific Experiment

Perhaps the most famous experiment ever done on this subject was an episode of Discovery Channel’s hit show Mythbusters, where the gang performed a controlled study comparing driver performance. In order to set a solid baseline, both participants in the test drove on a test track which included city traffic, usual driving maneuvers such as stopping, sharp turns, and parallel parking, as well as a course meant to emulate straight and monotonous interstate highways.

One participant skipped a night of sleep while the other consumed several alcoholic drinks. The drunk driver performed approximately three (3) times worse than their control runs. However, the exhausted driver performed a shocking 10 times worse, leaving their lane, driving erratically, and repeatedly losing focus. These results should make all of us think twice before getting behind the wheel while drowsy.

Contact our Trenton Impaired Driving Accident Attorneys Today

The personal injury attorneys of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson have been serving clients injured in auto accidents since 1972 in our local New Jersey communities including Trenton, Princeton, Lawrence, Hamilton, New Brunswick, and the greater Mercer County area. Our firm has protected those injured by drunk drivers and sleep deprived drivers alike by successfully finding fault and recovering damages. Lean on our experience to recover the full and fair financial compensation your family needs and deserves to secure your financial future.

Contact us online or call our Trenton offices today by dialing (609) 528-2596 for a free and confidential consultation regarding your auto accident caused by a drunk or sleep deprived driver, your resulting injuries, and your potential personal injury claim.