Drowsy driving does not always receive as much publicity as it deserves. It may be even more insidious than drunk driving. To become intoxicated, you have to intentionally go to a bar or restaurant and order alcoholic drinks. Or if you are at home, you have to at least pour yourself a drink, or three. And then you have to intentionally get behind the wheel and attempt to drive somewhere.
To become a drowsy driver, all that is necessary is that you lose a night’s sleep. Maybe you have a young child who is teething or sick. Your sleep is heavily disrupted and you stumble out the door groggy.
Or you do shift work, as a nurse, airline pilot, truck driver or any one of the thousands of jobs that require second or third shift work. Or maybe you had to cover someone else’s shift, or are force by an emergency, like snowstorm, to work extended hours.
Every one of those scenarios and more can lead to a driver behind the wheel who has difficulty keeping their eyes open. And while never intentional, it can be every bit as deadly as driving drunk.
A crash this week near Kutztown killed two motorists when a truck crashed into a line of stopped cars at 6:30 a.m. The truck driver had been working since 1:30 a.m. and apparently fell asleep in his truck.
Police officials reported that the truck driver never applied his brakes before smashing into the line of cars, hit additional cars when the crash startled him awake. He has been charged with homicide by vehicle among other charges.
These tragic crashes are easily preventable. If you are too sleepy to keep your eyes open, you are too sleepy to drive. Drowsy driving is negligent driving and if someone is killed or injured, it becomes a crime.
Wgal.com, “Truck driver fell asleep at the wheel, killing 2, police say,” November 20, 2014