Posted by Jim Yeargan in DUI Laws on September 21, 2016
When drowsy motor vehicle drivers use alcohol, the results are frequently catastrophic. Recently, a driver was traveling in the northbound lane of Interstate 85 when he drifted into an emergency lane and struck the back of a parked law enforcement vehicle. The law enforcement vehicle was then pushed into another automobile which, at the time, was pulled over.
The driver and three of the passengers in the pulled-over vehicle required medical assistance. Fortunately, the law enforcement officer and individuals in the pulled-over vehicle had gotten back into the motor vehicles shortly before the accident so potentially more catastrophic injuries were avoided.
The Georgia State Patrol subsequently charged the driver with driving under the influence, failure to move over, and not having proof of insurance. The driver that caused the accident claimed that he fell asleep while driving, but law enforcement believes that man was also under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
The Prevalence of Accidents Due to Driver Fatigue
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that each year 100,000 police-reported crashes are the result of driver fatigue. These accidents have subsequently caused 1,550 deaths, 71,00 injuries, and over $12 billion in monetary losses.
It is often difficult for law enforcement, however, to accurately determine when an accident is due to driver fatigue for several reasons including the lack of a standardized test to gauge driver fatigue and the unreliability of self-reporting by drivers. Law enforcement does know, however, that drowsiness and driver fatigue plays a role in many alcohol-related accidents.
The Deadly Combination of Driver Fatigue and Alcohol Use
Even individuals who operate motor vehicles with a blood alcohol content within the legal limit must be particularly mindful of driver fatigue. While alcohol tends to decrease a motor vehicle driver’s coordination, exhaustion can similarly cause the coordination of drivers to become slower and weaker.
As a result of fatigue’s effects, each year many of drivers fail to pass field sobriety tests because the driver is exhausted and not because the driver is intoxicated. Field tests have no way to account for a driver’s fatigue or exhaustion and instead often misinterpret these elements as signs of intoxication.
Ways to Combat Drowsiness While Driving in Atlanta
There are certain steps that all motor vehicle drivers, especially those who might have had a small amount of alcohol should follow to combat the effects of drowsy driving. Motor vehicle drivers should make sure to appoint a designated driver or use public transportation like a bus or train to travel home if the driver is intoxicated or drowsy.
Individuals must also make sure to follow the exact directions printed on medication labels, which will warn individuals to not drive if the medication has a tendency to create drowsiness. Motor vehicle drivers must also be ever mindful of the warning signs of drowsiness so that drivers can promptly respond to fatigue before accidents occur and a driver ends up mistakenly facing DUI charges.
The Expertise of a Talented Atlanta DUI Lawyer
If you face a DUI charge in the Atlanta area, one of the best ways to craft a defense against such a charge is to contact a seasoned Atlanta DUI attorney at Yeargan & Kert, LLC who can begin today in making your case as strong as possible.