Driver Fatigue and DUIs in New Orleans

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We all know that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can impair judgment and put everyone’s lives at risk. But we do not often think of the intoxicating effect of that all-nighter or the common case of “burning the candle at both ends.” If you are running on empty (sleep, that is – not fuel), you are putting yourself and others at risk.

From our team of car and truck accident attorneys at Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias, LLC, here’s what you need to know about fatigued or tired driving here in New Orleans and across the country.

The Dangers of Fatigued Driving

The number of fatal accidents involving large commercial trucks has risen steadily over the past few years, and as a result, the trucking industry is being blamed for much of the danger on our roads. Several notorious crashes in recent years have given rise to demand for stricter laws that regulate the safety of the trucking industry.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration currently limits the hours that commercial truckers are allowed to drive.

The fact of the matter is, however, that our roads are unsafe due to a mix of societal impairments—alcohol, drugs, cell phones, fast food, music, lack of sleep, and overall inattentiveness—that divert our attention from driving.

Fatigued Driving in Louisiana: Rules and Consequences

While Louisiana does not mention this specific condition as a charge for vehicular homicide, it raises a serious issue to bear in mind.

Driving on too little sleep is a serious offense—one that can result in lost lives and trouble with the law—and it should not be taken lightly.

The consequences of fatigued driving in Louisiana are profound. Drowsy drivers are more likely to exhibit impaired reaction times, reduced attentiveness, and poor decision-making skills, all of which increase the likelihood of accidents on the road. In a state where road fatalities are already a concerning issue, drowsy driving adds an extra layer of danger.

Louisiana’s law enforcement agencies are actively addressing this problem through awareness campaigns, encouraging drivers to recognize the signs of fatigue and take necessary precautions. However, addressing the root causes, such as overworked truck drivers and demanding work schedules, remains a challenge that needs ongoing attention and regulation.

To combat fatigued driving effectively in Louisiana, a multi-pronged approach is required. This includes stringent regulations on truck drivers working hours and mandatory rest periods to ensure they are well-rested while on the road.

Employers and individuals also need to prioritize sleep and rest, acknowledging that driving while fatigued is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. By raising awareness, implementing effective policies, and encouraging a culture of responsible driving, Louisiana can make significant strides in reducing the prevalence of fatigued driving and ultimately enhance road safety throughout the state.

What about DUIs in Louisiana?

Navigating the more traditional DUI cases in Louisiana can be complex, as well.

The state has some of the toughest laws and penalties for driving under the influence, making it crucial for anyone facing DUI charges to seek experienced legal representation. The legal process can be intimidating, with potential consequences that may include fines, license suspension, and even jail time. However, it’s important to remember that every individual has the right to a fair defense, and there are various aspects to explore when building a robust defense strategy.

One critical factor to consider is the legality of the traffic stop and arrest. Law enforcement officers must follow strict protocols when conducting traffic stops and administering field sobriety tests. Any deviation from these procedures can raise questions about the validity of the DUI arrest.

Additionally, the accuracy of chemical tests, such as breathalyzer and blood tests, can be challenged based on calibration issues or improper handling.

It is essential for individuals facing DUI charges to consult with an attorney who can thoroughly examine these elements and identify potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.

Contact Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias, LLC if you’ve been hit by a fatigued driver

We at Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias, LLC would like to take this opportunity to remind you that driving is a task that requires the full concentration of one’s faculties. Alcohol and drugs are not the only factors that can impair one’s ability to concentrate on driving. Before you slip behind the wheel, please remember to check your tank—your sleep tank—for your safety and for the safety of all.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident due to a fatigued driver, or if you’ve been accused of a DUI here in Louisiana, we’re here to help. Contact us today for a consultation.

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Categorized as Blog, DUI, DWI

By George Vourvoulias

George is a founding member and managing member of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C., a New Orleans law firm. George concentrates his practice in maritime personal injury, construction litigation, personal injury, workers' compensation, medical malpractice, and DUI defense. George Vourvoulias's Google+ Profile