Although many may argue that falling asleep behind the wheel should be seen as merely an accident due to the lack of control one has over it, I am here today to tell you that this issue should be seen as a crime and should in fact be taken very seriously. Surprisingly more than 16% of accidents that have occurred over the past 10 years have been due to drivers falling asleep at the wheel; one in every eight crashes that have sent someone to the hospital has been due to drowsiness of a driver.
Many times the thought of a person falling asleep while driving is over looked at the scene of an accident, but today we must realize the importance of this crime by looking at the statistics and how this is truly a life threatening crime that takes lives every day. Despite the fact that most people understand the dangers of driving while under the influence, people today do not realize the consequences that may follow getting behind the wheel drowsy.
According to the article Asleep at the Wheel, “4% of all fatal crashes and 31% of fatal- to- the- driver commercial truck crashes are contributed by sleep drivers. ” Because of the low percentage this has, this may not seem like a big deal to anyone, however, “Those crashes result in an estimated 1,500 fatalities and 71,000 injuries each year, and an annual monetary loss of approximately $12. 5 billion. ” This is money the government is losing and that the community is forced to pay.
By sharing the importance of how dangerous this act truly is, we are not only saving lives, but could also be potentially saving money for our government. Along with these statistics, this also is just as life threatening as driving under the influence. If a person under the age of 21 is pulled over, they have an alcohol limit of 0. 01, while anyone over 21has an alcohol limit of 0. 08; anything over these amounts are followed with severe consequences such as a DUI.
What may you ask is the point? Simple. Any one person that has been awake for more than 18 hours has a similar drowsiness as someone with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0. 08 which is legally drunk. Therefore just as we would punish a drunk driver for not only driving under the influence but for also putting a person’s life in danger, we, as a society, should also punish those driving tired due to the amount of danger they are not only putting themselves into, but others as well.
In conclusion, although one may argue that falling asleep behind the wheel is simply an accident and one has no control over it, I strongly disagree with this. That person may not have had any control over it, however, they did have control over choosing to get behind the wheel or not. And just like we would handle a DUI, I believe that this is a crime and there should be a consequence for putting not only their lives in danger, but for also jeopardizing other’s lives as well.