Drunk driving has become stigmatized behavior, and everyone knows that "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk." There is, unfortunately, no similar catchy slogan when it comes to driving while impaired by fatigued. New York Magazine thinks there should be.
In response to a fatigued drowsy driving accident that seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan, New York Magazine published an article suggesting that we need to do more to stigmatize fatigued driving.
Drivers who are too tired to stay awake can have delayed reaction time and impaired judgment, among other issues. When they cause a collision, they should be held accountable. Personal injury lawyers in Detroit at Fraser & Souweidane P.C. can help you to take action if you or a loved one is hurt in a drowsy driving crash.
Driving While Fatigued is a Major Public Health Problem
There are currently no laws that prohibit the average motorist from driving as long as he wants. There are laws passed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that restrict the number of hours that a trucker can drive in a day and in a week. The Wal-Mart truck driver who has been criminally charged for the Tracy Morgan collision was allegedly violating those laws and may have been awake for as long as 24 hours before the deadly crash.
Passing laws on drowsy driving clearly doesn't work, since the laws would be impractical and difficult to enforce when applied to individuals.
Telling drivers of the dangers is also likely to be ineffective. In response to an AAA Foundation Survey, 96.3 percent of people said that they strongly disapproved of someone who kept driving his car when he was experiencing difficulty keeping his eyes open. Yet, of those who disapproved, 26.3 percent admitted that they had done so in the past month.
Research has shown that one of the most effective ways to change behavior is to stigmatize unwanted behavior. If drowsy driving was stigmatized, fewer people would do it. This has worked, to some extent, with both drunk driving and texting and driving. A Public Attitude Survey found that 95 percent of respondents had not ever driven drunk and 91 percent did not text and drive. Yet, only 38 percent of the surveyed motorists said that they had not driven when they were tired.
Fatigued driving collisions may account for as many as 15 to 33 percent of the deadly crashes in the United States. Being awake for 24 hours like the Wal-Mart trucker can result in an impairment level that is above the legal limit of a .08 blood-alcohol content. Someone awake this long drives about as well as a person with a .10 BAC would drive. Even being awake for a total of 18 hours will result in you driving as if you had a BAC of .05.
Stigmatizing drowsy driving behavior could save lives, and it is time to start effective public campaigns that encourage motorists to stay off the roads when they are too tired to be safe.
A Detroit accident lawyer can help. Contact Fraser & Souweidane P.C. at (866) 465-9095 or visit http://www.fsattorneys.com to schedule a free consultation.