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  • Jerri Mitchell-Tharp

Sleepy v. Intoxicated

A founder of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) once said:

Considering the majority of alcohol-related accidents occur at night, there is a need for

increased examination on the role of fatigue, circadian cycles, and sleep loss.


Think about what a lack of sleep does to the body:

* Lack of alertness

* Impaired memory

* Excessive sleepiness

* Decreased motor function ability/clumsiness

* Grouchy/combative

* Balance issues, etc.


Now, let's look at what intoxication does to the body:

* Lack of alertness

* Impaired memory

* Sleepiness

* Decreased motor function ability/clumsiness

* Grouchy/combative

* Balance issues, etc.


Are you getting the point? When dealing with DUI/OVI, the most important thing to a police officer is the existence of these symptoms. They have no training on recognizing the symptoms of fatigue. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, there are more than 250,000 vehicle accidents each year caused by sleep deprivation. 20% of all serious accidents are related to a lack of sleep. How many times have you driven behind someone who was swerving all over the road? There is a good chance that the driver may just be fatigued. Fatigued drivers are different from intoxicated drivers; however, they can be just as dangerous to other motorists.


There are so many issues that need to be evaluated when dealing with a DUI/OVI case. This is only one aspect. If you are charged with a DUI/OVI, call us to discuss your case!

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