Can You Get Arrested for Drowsy Driving?
Motorists who get tired and fall asleep at the wheel while driving on NJ roads could potentially face more than just a traffic ticket. That’s because New Jersey law strictly punishes fatigued drivers who cause serious car accidents. In fact, when the car accident results in the death of another person, the sleep-deprived driver could find themselves headed to prison.
As set forth by Maggie’s Law, which was named after a college student who died in a drowsy driving accident in 1997, a motorist who falls asleep at the wheel and causes a fatal crash can be charged with vehicular homicide. A conviction on second degree vehicular homicide charges could lead to a sentence of 5-10 years in New Jersey State Prison.
Truck Drivers and Drowsy Driving Accidents in New Jersey
Maggie’s law was used by NJ prosecutors in a recent case involving comedian Tracy Morgan. In 2014, Morgan was a passenger in a limousine traveling on the New Jersey Turnpike when a Walmart truck driver lost control of the truck and crashed into the limo. Morgan sustained catastrophic injuries as a result of the accident, while another person in the limo tragically died. The truck driver later admitted that he was exhausted due to having been on the road for more than 28 hours.
Truck drivers may be at the greatest risk of falling asleep at the wheel because they are often asked to go many hours without sleep. That’s why federal safety laws require truck drivers to take a mandatory rest period if they have been on the road for 11 hours. When a truck driver violates the rest requirements, they can be ticketed and potentially lose their license. When any motorist, whether it’s a truck driver, a person behind the wheel of a car, or a motorcyclist, becomes tired and causes a fatal accident, they can be arrested and criminally charged with vehicular manslaughter.
If you were ticketed for a traffic violation in Atlantic County, NJ, or if you were arrested for a serious traffic offense, you should talk to an experienced criminal and traffic defense lawyer immediately. The knowledgeable traffic defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty are prepared to assist you with your case and help you fight the charges. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.