What are the affects on the body in regards to not getting enough sleep? What happens if you are driving with not enough sleep? Should drowsy drivers be criminally liable for crashes that they cause on the road?
I hear far too many people say that they are fine with four or five hours of sleep. Sure, you might be able to get up and go to work all week doing that and expect that you’ll get caught up on your sleep on the weekend. But sleep doesn’t work like that. Study after study has shown that 8-hours is the magic number (7-9 hours, which varies by age and some other factors). Without enough sleep the body is lethargic, exhaustion will set in quickly, you’ll be subject to mood swings, and you are just simply not as resistant to health related matters such as sickness and weight gain. I’m not saying you won’t be able to function, but you are absolutely functioning at some degree of deficiency. I have been on a strict regimen of 8-hours sleep a night for the last four years and I certainly feel more alert and more energetic because of it. I am also more aware of it when I don’t get my 8-hours of rest.
Driving when tired is just a bad idea. When the body gets tired it has a tendency to drift off to sleep. You’ll fall asleep during a movie or TV show, right. Well, the wife and I used to use a short drive to put the babies to sleep. There’s something about the comfortable seat, the warm air, and the steady hum and rumble of the road that would lull them right to sleep. That’s exactly what happens to you when you drive tired. Putting the window down and singing along with the radio will only get you so far. Your body is going to fail you and you will fall asleep. Then shit is going to get ugly. People may die. Cars will get wrecked.
And if you do this, if you drive while drowsy, it’s no different than driving drunk. You know you’re tired. You know you’re getting behind the wheel. And sleeping while driving is at least as dangerous as driving drunk. Hell, try driving while your eyes are closed. It’s pretty hard, right. Now take your conscious mind out of the equation. The penalties for driving drowsy should be the same as driving drunk. The same faulty decision making process goes into it and the results are pretty much the same.