South Florida police and doctors can reliably test a driver’s blood to find out if they are over the legal limit for alcohol. But testing how sleepy someone was at the time of a car accident is not so simple or scientific — at least for now.
According to The Guardian, researchers in Australia believe an accurate and reliable blood test for drowsiness could be ready in just two years. A team at Monash University in Melbourne says it has identified five biomarkers that appear in the bloodstream after a sleepless night. Testing for these biomarkers can determine if someone has been awake for at least 24 hours straight with 99 percent accuracy, researchers claim.
Proving poor sleep at ‘close to 90 percent accuracy’
The test reportedly can determine less extreme sleep deprivation at “close to 90 percent accuracy,” the team’s lead researcher said. However, the test still needs to be refined to the point that it gets it wrong less than one time out of ten and to be able to tell if a subject slept for, say, two hours or five hours last night. Separate research suggests that driving on less than five hours of sleep raises the risk of a car accident the same as the drunk-driving limit in many countries.
Proving negligence by a drowsy driver
Objective evidence that a driver was sleep-deprived when they crashed into you would help you make a case for compensation. Until such a test is available in Florida, it is still possible to prove that the driver negligently chose to drive despite not getting enough sleep. You might qualify for damages for your medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.