In Georgia and South Carolina, drowsy drivers can get ticketed under DUI laws. It’s considered driving impaired under exhaustion. The sleepiness does not necessarily have to include the ingestion of prescription or over-the-counter medication. Shift workers, long-distance drivers and people with untreated sleep disorders should pay particular attention if they feel drowsy since studies by the National Sleep Foundation suggest they are most at risk.
Since there is no test to determine how sleepy a driver actually is, it’s at the discretion of the ticketing officer whether to cite a DUI. But a field test and driver questioning could help determine whether drowsiness is a factor in their diminished driving ability.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sleepy drivers pay less attention to the road, have slower reaction time and their drowsiness impairs their ability to make good decisions. The NSF’s Sleep in America poll found when “driving drowsy, 42 percent of those polled said they become stressed, 32 percent get impatient and 12 percent tend to drive faster.” The CDC recommends, “drive alert and stay unhurt.”