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Does the acceptance of drowsy driving increase its deadliness?

As a driver, it is important to be aware of the dangerous behaviors other drivers may engage in. Intoxicated driving and distracted driving are two of the most well known. But distracted driving is a large umbrella, under which many actions exist.

One of these actions is driving while drowsy. Though it is not as extreme as intoxicated driving, it is often just as deadly. In fact, the deadliness of drowsy driving increases annually. But is there a reason for this?

Drowsy driving vs. intoxicated driving

The Sleep Foundation states that drowsy driving is often as risky as intoxicated driving. But several factors set it apart. First, drowsy driving has a wider range of acceptance. Most people know and acknowledge that intoxicated driving is bad, even if they choose to engage anyway. Both state and federal governments address the dangers of intoxicated driving with laws.

Why do so many people drive drowsy?

For drowsy driving, no such laws exist. There is no real way to test for drowsiness as one tests for drugs or alcohol in the system. But the biggest difference comes in the form of public opinion. Many workers and students alike do not get enough sleep during the night. However, the average person wakes up early in the morning to begin their day. This obviously requires getting into a car and driving despite lacking the optimum amount of sleep.

On top of that, society as a whole seems to accept the necessity of drowsy driving. If given a choice between staying up later or getting enough sleep to drive safely, many choose the former. Until penalties for drowsy driving increase, this will likely continue. Fatalities related to drowsy driving will also continue to rise.