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Fatal accident as driver falls asleep behind the wheel

It is a every driver's responsibility not to get behind the wheel of a car if they know that they will not be capable of safely operating the vehicle. The most common scenario we might imagine is a driver realizing that they should not operate a car because they have been drinking. But intoxication is not the only state in which a driver is not capable of safely driving a car.

A driver who is so tired that they are at risk of falling asleep, or just being too tired to drive safely put everyone on the road at risk. A driver should take reasonable precautions to avoid situations when they would need to drive when overly tired, or if they find themselves too tired to drive, find a way to get off the road safely. As fatal Michigan accident this week demonstrates, failing to take the proper precautions can lead to catastrophic consequences.

At around two in the morning, a 26-year-old man and his passenger were getting ready to deliver the day's copy of the Holland Sentinel newspaper. As they were making their way towards their delivery route another man was headed in the opposite direction on his way home from work. The man on his way home from work would later tell police that he fell asleep behind the wheel. He crashed head on into the car carrying the 26-year-old man and his passenger.

The 26-year-old was killed in the crash. His passenger and the driver who had reportedly fallen asleep both suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Falling asleep behind the wheel after working all day is not a malicious act, and unlike drunk driving the risks involved in driving while tired are not the subjects of countless public education campaigns. But the fact remains that it is each driver's responsibility to drive in a safe manner.

Source: WSBT News, "Officials: Driver falls asleep, causes fatal crash," Mar. 8, 2012

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