People take chances when driving drowsy. They think they can make to their destination without incident. They know they are tired but keep driving. They put themselves and others at risk of a serious accident. Drunk drivers are comprised of those who feel they are under the legal limit and those who cannot control their drinking. It is legal to drink and drive and some people don't even know what the legal limit is. The drunk drivers who are addicted should have assistance through their employers, friends, family, etc., to get into treatment. There is no cure and it's past time that there should be. Alcohol addiction is a disease (based upon the American Medical Association) but drowsy driving is a choice.
Drowsy driving and drunk driving should be both be prosecutable by law. Although being tired and being drunk are states of mind brought on by different actions, they can both put a driver in a position to harm himself or others if he decides to get behind the wheel. Ticketing people for drowsy driving will not only make them aware of the issue, but make sure that they get adequate rest before heading back on the road.
Drunk driving and drowsy driving both can result negatively, but should be prosecuted differently. Drunk driving was by choice. The person knew that they were at risk of drunk driving when the opened the bottle of alcohol. Drowsy driving, on the other hand, is not necessarily at the fault of the person. Teens especially are at risk of drowsy driving because of early school starts, but we can't really do much to prevent it. I did a project on teen sleep this semester, and it is proven that teen's biological clock switches, and teens naturally don't get tired until near 11 pm. So with early starts, and their biological clock, teens are more at risk of drowsy driving. So drowsy driving isn't necessarily at the fault of the person. But if they are driving drowsy, yes, there should be a fine or something of the sort, but nothing near the consequence for drunk driving.
I would offer the 'opinion' that most early morning drivers are aggressive and sometimes down right dangerous... I do not attribute this behavior to being drowsy. Now for the facts. You cant make something illegal and enforce it if there is no legitimate way of testing for the illegal act, so even if you believe it should be illegal how do you suppose the police test for this? Do we arrest all morning drivers for being drowsy?
While I think drowsy drivers should be held responsible for damage and injuries they cause, they should not be persecuted like drunk drivers. Drunk drivers deliberately impair their senses before getting into a car and the initiatives around drunk driving pound it into us how dangerous it is. There is simply no excuse for driving drunk. Drowsy drivers may not realize they are sleepy until it is too late.
There is a big difference between someone who is intentionally driving drunk, and someone who is tired from the activity they were doing. Most people are drowsy if they do not get enough sleep or from working. If we prosecute the people who are tired, then our economy would get worse, because people would use being tired as an excuse and not go to work or school!
Although both can result in a serious accident, drunk driving is far more serious an offence in that the driver chose to do it. It's a hard point to argue because the drowsy driver may also have chosen to ignore his mental state in a push to get home on a long trip. But drowsiness is something that just happens, and so is like an accidental occurrence, whereas the drunk driver may repeat his behavior over and over and as such is showing disregard for the lives he might injure.