Law defining the critical level of driver fatigue in terms of hours without sleep: Criminal justice professionals' opinions and fatal accident data
Journal article, 2012
The aims of the present study were to determine the support among criminal justice professionals for a law that defines the critical limit of driver fatigue in terms of 24 consecutive hours of wakefulness; and to determine how many drivers causing fatal accidents would be potentially covered by such a law. The data included an online questionnaire data collected from 325 criminal justice professionals (96 prosecutors, 129 traffic police officers, and 100 local police officers with experience in traffic surveillance and accident investigations) and the national database of fatal road accidents studied in depth (N = 1871; 2002-2008). The support for such a law was quite low among prosecutors while police officers were more in favor than against it. Only a handful of the (survived) drivers who caused a fatal accident were awake for more than 24 consecutive hours. We discuss several challenges and considerations associated with such a law.