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Recently in Bellingham, a jury found a local man not guilty of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault for falling asleep at the wheel and crashing into a group of high school boys. Two were killed in the incident.

The man admitted to falling asleep, and those around him witnessed his sleepiness prior to the accident, but his defense attorney successfully argued that the man had an undetected, undiagnosed, and therefore, untreated case of obstructive sleep apnea.

What our leaders say about drowsy driving:

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee:”Drowsy driving deaths are completely preventable if we all take the time to think twice before driving while tired.”

Chief John Batiste, Washington State Patrol:”Drowsy driving is as dangerous as getting behind the wheel while under the influence.”

Did you know?

  • Drowsy driving includes not only falling asleep at the wheel, but also operating a motor vehicle while sleepy or fatigued.

  • People with undiagnosed or untreated obstructive sleep apnea are up to 7times more likely to fall asleep at the wheel.

  • Over4700 collisions in Washington state between 2012 and 2015were drowsy driving investigations.

  • There were 2183 collisions and9 fatalities related to suspected drowsy driving in Washington state in 2015.

  • Washington state has no”drive drowsy” law, but the legislature is considered making it a crime.

  • In our state, those who drive drowsy and cause and accident could be convicted of reckless driving, vehicular assault, or vehicular homicide.

  • Our driving laws prohibit operating a motor vehicle”with disregard for the safety of others” which causes substantial bodily harm to or the death of another person.

  • Drowsy drivers have the same impairments as other drivers under the influence poor reaction time, judgment, vision, awareness of surroundings, and decision making skills.

FAST FACTS courtesy:
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
National Sleep Foundation
Washington State Department of Transportation
Washington State Patrol
Washington State Traffic Safety Commission
Further Reading

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