Believe it or not, there is no law in California – or in any other state – that prohibits falling asleep while driving. Does this mean that it is fine to all asleep while driving? Of course not. In fact, though this is not directly a crime, there are other laws that prohibit it. Keep reading to get all the facts, and then contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 for a free legal consultation.
Driving While Drowsy is a Serious Problem
Driving while drowsy is a huge problem in the United States and can lead to car accidents and injuries related to fatigue. In the worst-case scenario, people die due to driving while drowsy or being hit by someone who was driving while drowsy. In fact, studies have shown that driving while drowsy can be as dangerous as driving while drunk.
Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving
Many people would agree that it is unsafe to drive while drowsy but then not recognize their own unsafe drowsy driving when they take part in it. For this reason, it is important to know the signs that you might be falling asleep while driving. They can include yawning, blinking more than usual, drifting into another lane, missing a turn or an exit, or driving off the road.
A Driver Could Be Charged with Reckless Driving if They Fall Asleep While Driving
If a driver falls asleep while driving, or is simply drowsy while driving, and they injure another motorist or a pedestrian, they could potentially be charged with reckless driving. This charge involves operating a motor vehicle with reckless disregard for the safety and rights of other people.
This means that the defendant knew (or should have known) that their actions were likely to injure someone and they took the actions anyway. Reckless driving is charged as a misdemeanor offense in California and result in fines and up to one year in county jail.
Driving While Drowsy Could Lead to Vehicular Homicide Charges
If the other driver or pedestrian in the case was killed, then the driver who was drowsy could face vehicular manslaughter charges. The prosecution would have to prove that the driver killed someone and that the death was the direct result of the driver negligently and unlawfully operating a motor vehicle. This is a wobbler offense that can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor.
If you are charged with any crime related to driving while drowsy, contact Chambers Law Firm now at 714-760-4088. We are here to provide you with the help you need to move forward with your life. No matter how it seems, you are not alone and there is someone ready to be in your corner.