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Drowsy Driving Focus of Councilmember, Sheriff Effort

Summary

Recent statistics state that drowsy drivers cause 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and more than 100,000 accidents each year in the U.S. The Washington State Patrol reports that from 2011 through 2015 there were 64 fatal collisions and 308 serious injury collisions investigated where a drowsy driver was involved.

Story

Metropolitan King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert is working with the King County Sheriff’s office in reminding the public of the impact that “driving while drowsy” can have.

“Drowsy driving is both tragic and preventable,” said Councilmember Lambert. “We owe it to fellow drivers to think before getting behind the wheel. Doing that may help save a life.”

William Shaw, publisher of Sound Publishing's Reporter Newspaper Group, is also a strong advocate of increasing peoples’ awareness. In 2006, Shaw’s daughter Mora was severely injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver. She survived but went through many years of treatment. Since this accident, Shaw and his wife Mary Beth Haggerty-Shaw have worked on making the public more aware of this major impediment to safe driving.

“With the busy holiday season and the dark days of winter upon us, many people will be traveling to friends and families to celebrate,” said Shaw.  “Plan your route, plan your stops, get enough sleep before travelling. Think not only about your family or friends but of other people on the road. Driving when drowsy or tired and falling asleep at the wheel is a selfish act and has life-long repercussions that causes injuries and fatalities that devastate families.”

“The people of King County owe a debt of gratitude to William Shaw and Mary Beth Haggerty-Shaw for their work on making the public aware of this danger,” continued Lambert. “Their efforts have undoubtedly saved the lives of others.”

Recent statistics state that drowsy drivers cause 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and more than 100,000 accidents each year in the U.S. The Washington State Patrol reports that from 2011 through 2015 there were 64 fatal collisions and 308 serious injury collisions investigated where a drowsy driver was involved.

“Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence,” said Sheriff John Urquhart.  “It’s critical you’re well rested before getting behind the wheel. Your life, and others’, depend on it.”

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.

More information on drowsy driving is available at www.drowsydriving.org

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