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Falling Asleep at the Wheel Led to Fatal West Virginia Head-On

A woman lost her life when a car crashed head-on into her pickup truck on Route 52 outside of Delbarton, West Virginia (WV). The deadly wreck occurred just after 3 pm on April 1, 2015, as the vehicles climbed Buffalo Mountain in Mingo County. The man behind the wheel of the car survived and has admitted to police that he fell asleep before crossing the center line of the highway. Sideswiping the guardrail on the shoulder of the lane for oncoming lane awakened the man, but he did not have time to avoid the fatal crash.

 

 

The deceased woman appears to have succumbed to a combination of head trauma, traumatic brain injuries and blunt force trauma to her body. The damage a highway head-on collision can inflict is nearly unimaginable.

The other significant aspect of this tragic story is that the at-fault driver temporarily nodded off and lost control of his car. Fatigued driving, which is also called drowsy driving, accounts for some 1,550 traffic accident deaths each year. In all, according to federal data, nearly 100,000 wrecks happen annually on America's roads because at least one driver could not stay focused or in her or her own lane because their eyes were closing and their minds were disengaging.

No person should ever drive after missing a night's sleep or while suffering from an illness that leaves them vulnerable to losing consciousness. Simply spending too many hours in the driver's seat also puts people at risk for falling asleep, a reality recognized by federal and state rules that limit hours of service for commercial truck drivers.

Simply put, tired drivers are dangerous drivers. Sadly, as the wreck in West Virginia shows, tired drivers can also become deadly drivers. 

EJL

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