In 2013, an estimated 72,000 crashes were caused by tired motorists. In Arizona, more than 1,780 auto accidents were attributed to drowsy or fatigued drivers. Experts claim that going longer than a day without sleep and then trying to drive is equivalent to driving while intoxicated.
There are no current laws in Arizona that make it a crime for a motorist to drive while tired. However, commercial drivers who are found to be drowsy are placed out of service, according to Arizona Department of Transportation regulations. Drivers who find themselves fighting sleep behind the wheel are urged to find a safe place to rest before recommencing their travel.
One sad illustration of the dangers of fatigued driving occurred in 2015, when a driver from Arizona was headed to Ventura County while hauling an equipment trailer. He mistakenly turned onto railroad tracks in spite of the gates and warning lights. The trailer was struck by the train, killing the engineer and injuring several others. The driver left the scene and was later subsequently charged with vehicular manslaughter -- a misdemeanor count. He was determined to have been severely fatigued after more than 24 hours without sleep.
Commercial drivers are required to follow the laws regarding time of service and mandated rest breaks. All motorists are encouraged to practice self-awareness and refrain from driving when they are lacking adequate rest. Fellow motorists may look for signs of tired drivers and report the ones they fear are a danger on the roads. Those who have been injured in auto accidents caused by a fatigued or otherwise negligent driver may choose to seek recovery of their financial losses through the successful filing of a civil lawsuit.