Dangers of drowsy driving | King County

The Metropolitan King County Council 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:


o   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.

o   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.


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