Many Washington motorists know that drowsy driving can be dangerous. What drivers may not know is that attempting to drive after being awake for 24 hours is similar to driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent. Further, drowsy driving may be linked to more than 100,000 car accidents across the nation every year.
Despite just how dangerous drowsy driving can be, there are only two states that have laws against it. However, the laws are difficult to enforce as the authorities would have to provide proof that the drivers were driving while drowsy. New Jersey’s law, known as Maggie’s Law, states that drivers who kill someone after being awake for more than 24 hours could be charged with vehicular homicide. Arkansas passed its drowsy driving law in 2013, though the driver would be charged with negligent homicide.
Part of the reason that drowsy driving laws are nonexistent or are ineffective is because there are as yet no prominent advocates for these types of laws. Although there certainly are groups that are working to fix the problem, some want legislation while others don’t. Laws that are already in place are difficult to enforce and preventing people from being able to drive due to tiredness could make them not able to make ends meet.
Fatal motor vehicle accidents that were caused by drowsy driving are not uncommon. Although it can be difficult to prove that a person was driving while sleep-deprived, a personal injury attorney may still potentially help the family seek compensation for the loss of their loved one. If there is evidence that the other driver who caused the fatal accident was driving unsafely or dangerously, the family could be entitled to receive funeral and burial expenses as well as other amounts permitted by statute.