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Drowsy Driving and Alcohol DUI

Posted by Lynn Gorelick | May 12, 2020 | 0 Comments

According to AAA, drowsy driving may be more hazardous than drunk driving. However, drivers who are behind the wheel after not getting enough sleep rarely have to face more than a ticket for a traffic violation, or a suggestion by the police officer to “go home and get some rest.” 

Drivers who are driving while tired may not be subject to a criminal charge but drivers who are tired and have just a little alcohol in their system may face a drunk driving arrest. A DUI can result in thousands of dollars in fines, fees, DUI school, higher insurance rates, and even include possible jail time. 

If you were arrested for drunk driving, talk to your East Bay DUI defense lawyer about your case and how to fight the charges. Contact Lynn Gorelick to find out how to avoid a DUI on your criminal record. 

Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving may account for more than 20% of fatal car accidents. There are more than 6,400 drowsy driving accidents each year in the U.S. Feeling tired while driving makes it 3 times more likely that the driver will be involved in an accident.  

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of adults have driven while feeling drowsy. About 1/3rd of people have actually fallen asleep while driving. Drowsy driving can have a similar effect on drivers as driving after drinking alcohol. Driving after being awake for 18 hours can be like driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%. 

Driving after being awake for 24 hours can be like driving with a BAC of 0.10%, well over the legal limit. Feeling tired can impact the body similar to alcohol. It can make it more difficult for a driver to pay attention and slow reaction times. However, drowsy driving is most dangerous when the driver falls asleep at the wheel, which can lead to an accident. 

Signs that a driver may be too tired to be driving include: 

  • Drifting from your lane, 
  • Not remembering the last few miles, 
  • Having trouble keeping your eyes open, 
  • Difficulty focusing, and
  • Yawning repeatedly. 

Drowsy Driving and Alcohol

A combination of drowsy driving and alcohol can not only make driving more risky, it may also increase the chance of getting arrested for a DUI. Many drivers are surprised to find out that they can be arrested and convicted of a DUI even if they have a BAC below the legal limit

With a BAC below 0.08%, the prosecutor may have a higher burden of proof to get a conviction for a DUI. However, the prosecutor may still rely on evidence from the traffic stop, officer testimony, police report, or other evidence to show the driver was impaired. This could include things caused by drowsy driving, like veering out of the lane, driving too slowly, or not reacting in time to a traffic signal. 

Help After a DUI Arrest in the East Bay

Scientists in the U.K. have developed a blood test to help detect when a driver has not had enough sleep. However, until drowsy driving becomes a crime, police are relying on breath and blood tests to detect alcohol or other drugs in the body, charging the driver with a DUI.

With over 35 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how the police and prosecutors can treat a crime victim like a criminal. A DUI conviction can affect your future, your ability to drive, and your job. If you are facing a DUI, contact the local DUI lawyer who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for over 38 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the Immediate Past President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense. Lynn is a Specialist Member of the California DUI Lawyers Association and lectures frequently to other attorneys regarding DUI and DMV issues.


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