MORGAN COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Federal statistics are frightening. They say 2.5 percent of fatal crashes and two percent of non-fatal injuries are a result of drowsy driving; but some researchers estimate those numbers should be more like 15 and 33 percent.
Morgan County Chief Deputy Mike Corley has seen his share of people who drive drowsy.
"We do have instances where probable cause leads us to stop motorists and in finding out through that traffic stop that they're just pushing their self trying to get to a destination," he said.
He said it's more common here in the Valley than one might think.
"We see them, maybe, temporarily leave the roadway or they may straddle the center line a time or two. Our first perception is do I have an impaired or intoxicated driver here, and when we get them stopped it's just a situation where they're tired and sleepy," said Corley.
Whether it's driving sleepy or driving drunk, the ramifications are the same because it's still driving impaired.
Corley said many people just don't think about what can happen when driving drowsy.
"There's certainly the possibility of a 'reckless endangerment' charge. There's all kinds of civil liabilities if they just simply leave the roadway and go through someone's fence or building," he said.
Even worse is death or bodily injury, which could occur. Corley said that could even lead to jail time.
He said cases are up locally and that can be attributed in part to the way our lives are.
"We're living in a fast paced world and there again we may not give a thought to the hazards or possibilities that we should as far as not only violation of the law or the injuries that could be," he added.
Researchers found that people who slept six hours or less were about twice as likely to fall asleep while driving as those who got seven or more hours of sleep.