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Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving

Drunk driving is treated like a terrible crime, and in some ways, that's understandable. Obviously the act of getting behind the wheel when you are not sober is negligent, and the person responsible for such an act shouldn't have done it. However, this doesn't mean these individuals aren't entitled to their defense, nor does it mean they don't have a case. In addition, compared to other actions that people perform while driving, drunk driving leads to extremely excessive punishment.

A prime example of this is drowsy driving. Did you know that people who are drowsy cause at least 100,000 motor vehicle accidents every year in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration? And yet drowsy driving isn't met with hefty fines, jail time, loss of license or some sort of ignition device.

Many people every year get behind the wheel of their car after a long day at the office. Maybe they are on a business trip. Maybe they just didn't sleep well the night before. But now they are drowsy and operating a machine that weighs a ton and travels at fast speeds. What's the difference between this and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08? According to a study in the Accident Analysis and Prevention Journal, the answer is practically none.

Ultimately, we're not advocating for the legalization of drunk driving. However, some perspective is necessary when we consider drunk driving and the penalties associated with this crime. Many drivers out there do things that make their driving ability equal to a drunk driver's, and yet they aren't punished or ridiculed in the same way as a drunk driver.

Source: USA Today, "Driving like this is as dangerous as driving drunk," Kristen Varela, Oct. 30, 2014

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