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King County Council encourages awareness of the dangers of Drowsy Driving



The Metropolitan King County Council today recognized the importance of increasing awareness of Drowsy Driving.

“I heard the statistics on the numbers of people who drive drowsy,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “It is vital as we approach the busy holiday season to remind people of the seriousness of this issue and the number of accidents and deaths caused each year.”

Recent statistics state that drowsy drivers cause 1550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and more than 100,000 accidents each year in the U.S. This includes 16 deaths and 60 serious injuries in Washington State as recently as 2010.

Lambert was joined in this recognition by Bill Shaw, publisher of the Reporter Newspapers chain and his wife, Mary Beth.  Their daughter Mora was severely injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver in 2006. She survived but went through many years of treatment.  Since this accident, the Shaw’s have embarked on a crusade to make the public more aware of this major impediment to safe driving.

“The Shaw’s story touched my heart and I am so glad that Mora survived,” said Lambert. “Their commitment to public education and knowledge of this important issue is commendable. I was very glad to help participate with them to increase awareness by sponsoring this recognition.”

Some important points to remember about drowsy driving are:

  • Anyone can fall asleep while driving – more than one third of drivers report falling asleep behind the wheel. 
  • There are some common sense things one can do to make driving safer:
    • For maximum alertness, get enough sleep before your trip. Take a mid-afternoon break, and avoid driving between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
    • Take a passenger to keep you talking, watch for signs of sleepiness, and share the driving.
  •  Schedule a break every two hours or 100 miles to take a quick nap or get some exercise.
  •  Consume a caffeinated drink or food to boost your short-term alertness.


WHEREAS, drowsy drivers cause 1550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and more than 100,000 accidents each year in the U.S.—statistics that included 16 deaths and 60 serious injuries in Washington State in 2010; and

WHEREAS, the AAA discovered that more than one out of every four drivers admits to having a hard time keeping their eyes open; and

WHEREAS, driving while fatigued is dangerous because it slows reaction time, impairs vision, and causes lapses in judgment, similar to drunk driving; and

WHEREAS, Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed November 11-17, 2013, as Washington State Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, to raise awareness of safety while driving; and

WHEREAS, these efforts, along with similar proclamations across the country, will encourage drivers to consider making safe choices when driving;

NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, hereby recognize the importance of being aware of


and urge all residents to join in the national effort to raise awareness of the importance of driving safely to prevent deaths, injuries, and accidents.

DATED this ninth day of December, 2013.

For more information on drowsy driving click here

Mary Beth Shaw and her husband William Shaw with the members of the County Council. The Council recognized their efforts to make people aware of the impact of drowsy driving after their daughter was almost killed by a driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel.
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