You may not know this, but drowsy driving in Pennsylvania and around the world is responsible for motor vehicle accidents that result in injuries and deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, drowsy driving led to 697 deaths. Granted, drowsy driving is a serious issue today, and this article will discuss the top four you need to know about this issue.
Drowsy driving can attract a serious jail term
In Pennsylvania, motor vehicle drivers who cause an accident that causes death or serious injury while driving without due care can receive a prison sentence of up to seven years. The crime of vehicular homicide is a third-degree felony; the sentence can go as high as ten years if you already have two prior DUI convictions.
Drivers with underlying medical conditions are at greater risk
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that drivers who are sleepy or drowsy may have underlying medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome and congestive heart failure. For instance, if you have sleep apnea, your body may stop breathing for short periods of time while you’re asleep. The lack of oxygen can make it difficult to stay awake and alert during the day.
A motorist’s aging is a factor
As people age, the risk of getting drowsy while driving increases. This is because as we age, our sleep patterns change and the quality of sleep declines. This may increase a motorist’s need for more time to recover from poor-quality sleep before driving again or taking on new tasks.
Drowsy driving lawsuits can be extremely expensive
It’s not just motor vehicle accidents that drowsy drivers have to worry about. If you’re convicted for this and other related issues in Pennsylvania, the criminal penalties might be severe enough to cost you a fortune – even if it is your first conviction for such an offense. For instance, if you’re found guilty of vehicular homicide for driving while drowsy and without due care, you may need to pay more than $300,000 in penalties.
Drowsy driving is a serious issue and motor vehicle accidents that result from drowsy driving can be fatal. It’s important to understand how you might experience the effects of sleep deprivation before getting behind the wheel. If you’re ever in doubt about your ability to stay awake while on the road, don’t hesitate to take a break or find an alternate form of transportation.