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Sick New Jersey drivers may be as dangerous as drunk drivers

We have covered many serious drunk driving car accidents in previous posts. The dangers of drinking and driving are well known and individuals who decide to drive while intoxicated are frequently held accountable for their actions through personal injury lawsuits. A new study indicates that drivers who are sick may be just as dangerous as intoxicated drivers, which should give everyone pause this cold and flu season.

The study was funded by a pair of British insurers and indicated that drivers who were driving with a cold were just as dangerous as drivers who had taken several shots of alcohol. It appears that illness serves as a major distraction from driving and dampens crucial driving skills such as negotiating curves. Sick drivers were also shown to be more likely to brake suddenly and demonstrated a decrease in reaction time.

“It’s taking away your attention,” a state trooper said of driving while sick. “You’re more focused on your cold than you are on your driving.”

The trooper added that individuals should evaluate themselves before they drive to work in the morning and ask themselves if they can drive safely while being sick. Commuters taking medicine for their colds should also be cautious. Medicines that promote drowsiness may cause a driver to dose off or react slowly to road conditions.

Although there is no law against driving while sick, there are laws against reckless driving. Also those who cause car accidents while sick are likely to face a negligence lawsuit for the damages that they cause.

Source: Komo News, “Study: Driving while sick as bad as drunk driving,” Mark Miller, Jan. 5, 2012

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