Bronx Bus Accident Case Highlights Need to Criminalize Drowsy Driving

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A number of recent high-profile accidents related to drowsy driving have made headlines. One of these was a bus accident in New York earlier this year that killed 15 passengers.

A number of recent high-profile accidents related to drowsy driving have made headlines.  One of these was a bus accident in New York earlier this year that killed 15 passengers.  The bus driver in that case has been cleared of most of the charges against him.  However, it is clear to car accident lawyers that law enforcement need to begin strongly prosecuting drivers who drive while sleepy, placing others at risk.

In the Bronx accident, the driver fell asleep while driving, leading to the bus going out of control, flipping over, and crashing into a pole.  The impact of the accident caused the bus to slice into two.  15 passengers were killed in the accident.  The bus driver was charged with a number of criminal felonies, including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

However, he has been cleared of most of the charges.  He was only convicted of a minus charge of aggravated unlicensed operation of vehicle.  He was cleared of most of the serious charges against him, and has been fined $500.  That sentence against him is likely to aggravate many of the survivors of the accident, and the families of the 15 people were killed in the accident.

During the trial, prosecutors tried hard to make more serious charges stick to him, but failed.  Similar such efforts have been made in criminal cases linked to drowsy driving across the country.  However, many of these attempts have been unsuccessful, because it’s harder to quantify drowsy driving, and much harder to detect it.

It is easy to criminalize drunk driving, because there is a blood alcohol test that can clearly indicate how drunk or intoxicated a motorist was at the time of the accident.  It’s also easy to go through cell phone records, and find out whether a person was distracted by a cell phone and caused an accident.  However, it isn’t as easy to measure or detect drowsy driving.  No motorist is going to come right out and admit that he dozed off while driving, or was completely confused and disoriented because he was driving on too little sleep.

 

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