Raising Concerns about Drowsy Drivers - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Raising Concerns about Drowsy Drivers

Raising Concerns about Drowsy Drivers
By: CJ Cassidy

New details on a traffic accident that put a Missouri Highway Patrol Trooper in hospital with a broken arm.

Investigators now say the driver that caused the accident, 19-year-old Matthew Hinkle, nodded off behind the wheel just before the accident.

Still, you may be surprised by a recent poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation that suggest drowsy driving isn't uncommon. Figures shows 60% of adult drivers admit they've been drowsy drivers at some time or other.

Police say when you consider driving drowsy is just as bad as drunk driving, that's pretty scary.

"the trooper was extremely lucky as well as the lady that got sideswiped and the gentleman who fell asleep behind the wheel," Sgt. Cody Fulkerson says.

As Trooper Jeremy Weadon recovers from a broken arm, fellow patrolman Fulkerson points out the dangers of drowsy driving.

"Getting behind the wheel of a 1000 pound automobile and driving it down the highway at 70 miles per hour with someone asleep behind the wheel, well, that's just scary saying it, but it happens everyday," Fulkerson says.

And drivers admit it's true.

"I've actually caught myself going to sleep behind the wheel it's quite dangerous," J.D. Eaton of Jackson says.

"You've got to put your pride aside and make the right decision," Fulkerson says. He adds, if you're already on the road when you start getting tired, pull over and take a nap, or see if someone else will drive for you.

Police also suggest drinking at least two cups of coffee.

Drivers we spoke with had their own methods to fight falling asleep. B ut experts say they haven't proved to be reliable.

"When I'm driving home from St. Louis I'll call my husband to say talk to me through this dark period. It works," one female driver told us.

Another says she would turn to the radio to help keep her awake.

Still, if the possibility you could injure yourself or someone else isn't enough to keep put the brakes on driving drowsy, consider this:

Sgt. Fulkerson says he's issued many tickets to drowsy drivers before, and will continue to do so in the future.

Troopers did issue the driver who allegedly caused Monday's accident a ticket.

Police say he was headed home after working a long shift when he nodded off.

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