By now we’re sure you’ve seen the news. “ Tiger Woods Charged with DUI ” is all over the headlines. He was found asleep behind the wheel of his car. Over the next few days you’ll undoubtedly see criminal defense attorneys and various experts talking about the various aspects of the alleged DUI, potential penalties and all sorts of legal analysis.
There’s another aspect that people may miss about the Tiger Woods story.
Tiger was found asleep behind the wheel. The damage to his car may have happened before he fell asleep. More alarmingly, the damage may have occurred after he fell asleep, but while the car was still in motion.
This aspect, his falling asleep at the wheel, is a serious issue on Kentucky roadways. We recently had a conversation with a friend who had to call 911 to report a tractor trailer that was swerving across all of the eastbound lanes on 1-64 in Southern Indiana. The truck finally came to a stop in the median, after more than 5 miles of a journey risking a potential traffic fatality.
According to Kentucky State Police 2015 Data:
There were 1,351 collisions (1% of total), which listed “Fell Asleep” as a cause of the accident. Of that total, there were 16 fatal collisions (2.3% of total). In reviewing another segment of the report, there were 4,269 alcohol-related collisions (-1% vs 2014). The total killed was 175 (+12% vs 2014) and 2,072 injured in alcohol-related collisions.
Each year, trucking companies seem to push their drivers to meet increasingly aggressive delivery times. Drivers are cheating on their log books to mask the fact that they’ve exceeded federal guidelines. Some operators even resort to using controlled substances to stay awake on our roads. As we saw with Tiger, using drugs while operating a vehicle can result in potential interactions and serious consequences.
If you find yourself feeling drowsy, take time to pull over. Consider taking a brief nap. If you have to keep going, look for a rest area and stretch your legs for a bit. The physical movement and fresh air could make a big difference.
Regardless of whether you’re operating a passenger vehicle or a commercial truck, you need to be alert. We know this sounds like common sense, but the 16 fatal collisions in Kentucky (2015) due to “falling asleep” reminds us all that it’s remains a serious issue.
The lawyers and judge are going to determine what happens in Tiger Wood’s case. We hope you’ll take steps to be safe on our Kentucky roads and highways. If you see another driver swerving, don’t try to drive up beside him/her. You’re better off slowing down and calling 911 to report the situation. The state troopers, sheriffs and police officers are trained to deal with these situations.