Bloodshot Eyes and Fatigue

The Drinking Driving Report (DDR) indicates that your client had bloodshot eyes.  This was used as an indicia of intoxication.  Significantly, bloodshot eyes are no longer viewed as acceptable indicia of intoxication.  This is usually associated with an inadequate amount of sleep. Hence, late night airline flights are frequently referred to as “red eyes”.  The time of the arrest is usually associated with an inadequate amount of sleep.

According to the NHTSA study of 1997, bloodshot eyes may be caused by many different circumstances, such as fatigue,  headache, sinusitis, eye irritation and possible allergies.  This research culminated in the publication of The Detection of DWI at BAC’s Below 0.10, DOTHS 808 654 (Stuster, September 1997).

Sleep deprivation/fatigue and the resultant impairment of cognitive performance and balance is discussed in the peer reviewed paper Postural Control After A Night Without Sleep by Marco Fabbri et al, which appeared in the peer reviewed Journal Neuopsychologia 44(206) 25-20-2525.  “Postural control is determined by an interplay of visual, proprioceptive and vestibular inputs which are dynamically weighed to determine body position and maintain equilibrium.  According to the paper by Fabbri, it is believed that lack of sleep results in deactivation of certain brain areas concerned with mediating attention and supervision. Deactivation of these areas would be responsible for the loss of balance or postural control.