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Why drowsy driving can be a problem for Arizona drivers

The summer driving season has “unofficially” begun with the passing of Memorial Day weekend. This means that more people will be travelling to Arizona for vacations. Expect more traffic in the Grand Canyon region. Along with the additional traffic, law enforcement agencies will be initiating more patrols to catch drunk drivers, as they are known to pose hazards to the public.

But what about drowsy drivers? Aren’t drivers who spend a majority of their time behind the wheel potentially dangerous as well? After all, commercial truck drivers are subject to federal hours of service regulations because of how dangerous trucks can be when their drivers are sleepy. However, these regulations may not apply to non-commercial drivers, as well as taxi drivers. 

Nevertheless, drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. According to a recent study, a number of drivers have admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel, and nearly 50 percent drive with heavy eyes; meaning that they probably have micronaps ( very short, immediate periods of sleep). In fact, going nearly a day without sleep is like having a blood alcohol content of .10, which is above the legal limit in Arizona.

Drivers have a continuing duty to use reasonable care when driving. This means that they must drive like a reasonable person would in similar circumstances. Refraining from alcohol use, minimizing distractions and getting plenty of rest are example of using such care. If a driver does not use reasonable care, and an accident occurs, he or she could be held responsible for the injuries and property damage that comes about.

Source: "Driving drowsy like driving drunk," Will Ujek, May 27,2013

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