Differences Between Drowsy and Drunk Driving in Arizona

drowsy and drunk driving in arizona

Differences between Drowsy and Drunk Driving in Arizona

You have probably heard both the terms drowsy and drunk driving in Arizona. Are you aware of the differences between the two and the penalties that they carry, however?

Laws Defining Drowsy and Drunk Driving in Arizona

According to Arizona Revised Statutes 28-1381, a person will commit a driving under the influence violation when they are physically controlling a vehicle while impaired by an intoxicating liquor, drugs, toxic substances or a combination of those.

Drowsy driving is typically the result of sleep deprivation and fatigue. A person, however, may be drowsy after the consumption of certain types of illegal drugs. Thus, such a person is going to face DUI charges on the basis of Arizona laws, especially if traces of the respective drug can be detected in the blood of the driver.

Research shows that drowsy driving (even when drugs aren’t being used) can have consequences similar to those of drunk driving.

People who have been awake for 18 hours or more are known to behave in a manner similar to drivers who have a BAC of 0.05 percent. A driver who has been awake for 24 hours or more can be more dangerous than a drunk driver. Their reactions will slow down, making drowsy drivers incapable of undertaking necessary actions in the case of an emergency (the need to brake or steer quickly, for example).

Drowsy driving currently is not considered a crime in Arizona (unless the driver is also impaired by either drugs or alcohol). It can, however, lead to serious accidents that will be prosecuted by police officers.

People who are drowsy may face an array of criminal charges in Arizona. Some of those include:

  • DUI charges
  • Aggravated assault
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Vehicular homicide

All of these are criminal charges that could lead to a conviction, hefty fines and a prison sentence. On occasions, a driver could be committing more than one crime by engaging in drowsy driving.

Drowsy and Drunk Driving Have Similar Symptoms

Police officers in Arizona can’t just pull a driver over without a reasonable suspicion. A driver will have to violate a traffic regulation or there will need to be a problem with the car for the purpose of a police stop to occur.

Even though drowsy driving itself is not a crime, it will often manifest itself in a manner similar to impaired or drunk driving.

Both drowsy and drunk drivers have been known to do the following:

  • Drift or switch from lane to lane without following traffic regulations
  • Weaving
  • Speeding
  • Difficult braking in the case of an emergency
  • Difficulties in making a sound judgment on the basis of the current road or traffic conditions

These are reasons enough for a police stop to occur. A drowsy driver who is taking medications or who has a certain medical condition could also appear to be impaired on the basis of BAC tests. In such instances, a driver will face DUI charges even if they haven’t consumed alcohol or drugs.

How to Protect Yourself on the Road

drowsy and drunk driving in arizonaIf you are tired or you haven’t slept for numerous hours, you should refrain from driving. You will jeopardize yourself and others and you will also increase the risk of getting pulled over and being suspected of driving under the influence.

There may be situations in which you’ll have to operate a vehicle tired. In such instances, pay attention to the signs and symptoms of inadequate behavior. If you are too drowsy, you may want to pull over and have a power nap for the purpose of increasing your alertness level.

You should never drive after taking sedating medications. The instructions that come with each pharmaceutical product will help you determine if a sedating effect is to be experienced, which will make the operation of vehicles unsafe. If you do get pulled over, contact professional DUI lawyer immediately.