We have all done it at one point in time or another – gotten behind the wheel to go somewhere when we were drowsy. It wasn’t the best idea if you were just a bit tired, but it typically doesn’t have long-term consequences. If you happen to be a resident of Arkansas, this may not be something you ever want to do again. There are now laws in place that make this one of two states you can get prosecuted for driving while drowsy.
What the Laws Intend to Do
The law has added fatigued driving to categories of negligent homicide. Should you decide to get behind the wheel after being awake for 24 hours or more, you can get charged with driving while drowsy. It is a public safety issue that the people of Arkansas took seriously. The first state, New Jersey, enacted Maggie’s Law after someone got behind the wheel tired and a fatality occurred. However, it wasn’t something the rest of the nation did at the same time. It became an issue in Arkansas after people who had lost loved ones to this type of negligence started coming forward to speak with Senator Jason Rapert.
The goal behind this law is to keep people from getting behind the wheel when they have been awake for 24 hours or longer. When this is the case, people tend to doze off, putting themselves and anyone else on the road at very high risk of getting hurt or killed. Multiple studies have shown that drowsy drivers can be far more dangerous than intoxicated ones, since they rarely slow down prior to an accident. This is a serious issue that is often not covered under any legal form of gross negligence, meaning that many times when this type of accident occurs, nothing can be done to prosecute the offender.
This law is not intended to stop people from driving, and it is not going to prosecute everyone who gets into their vehicle not-quite-awake in the morning because they have not had enough coffee. However, this law is intended to stop people from intentionally staying up more than 24 hours and making a negligent decision that could cost lives. It also allows families of victims to have some sort of repercussions should an accident occur after someone decides to stay awake too long and get behind the wheel of a vehicle.