The dangers of drowsy driving | Guest editorial

  • Monday, November 6, 2017 12:18pm
  • Opinion

Mora Shaw. Courtesy of the Shaw family

By Mora Shaw

Eleven years ago, a drowsy-driving car wreck left me with injuries that still challenge me today.

In the accident, my ankle was crushed so bad that I am never able to run again and I will need more surgery on it throughout my life. From my hips to my feet, my body is held together with plates and screws. I received a traumatic brain injury and lost more than two years of my life at the hospital and in rehab. I am only 29 years old but have early age arthritis.

The driver who fell asleep at the wheel of the car I was riding in told me just last year that she “got over” the accident years ago and has moved on with her life. But my damaged body, brain and spirit will never get over it. Every single day, my aches and pains remind me of that driver’s poor decision to drive a car when she had not slept for almost 24 hours.

Our lives are busy and fast paced — and we as a society just don’t get enough sleep. Drowsy driving is a national health and safety problem that we need to take seriously. The consequences of getting behind the wheel of a car after being awake for 18-24 hours is devastating. I beg you to pause and think before you get behind the wheel of a car when you are tired. The result can be injury or death to you or others.

The goal of our family’s drowsy driving awareness campaign is to get people’s attention about the dangers of drowsy driving. If we save one life or prevent one person from getting terrible life-changing injuries like mine, or if we prevent one family from going through years of hell like mine did, then our job will be done.

Why do we keep talking about drowsy diving every November? People ask my family all the time. Because we continue to see stories in the news about accidents from drowsy driving in which people are injured or killed. And it can so easily be avoided with proper sleep and mindfulness when getting behind the wheel of the car.

The Shaw family have made it their mission to educate the public on the all-too-often tragic consequences of driving while drowsy. In addition to Gov. Jay Inslee’s 2017 Washington State Drowsy Driving Prevention and Awareness Week proclamation — which is this week — the Shaw family have also partnered with the Washington State Patrol, Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, AAA of Washington, Washington State Department of Transportation and King County Sheriff’s Office in their efforts to promote drowsy driving awareness and prevention in Washington. The statewide proclamation is also in concert with the National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation’s Drowsy Driving website: drowsydriving.org.

The car following Mora Shaw’s car crash. Courtesy of the Shaw family

More in Opinion

Kudos for running thoughtful letter / Letters

Orchids to John Scannell for his well-written letter in your Oct. 5… Continue reading

Trump should stand up for public lands / Letter

When Donald Trump was elected president, sportsmen had high hopes that the… Continue reading

I am going all in on Initiative 1631 / Guest column

As a physician, few things are more gut-wrenching than watching a patient… Continue reading

Proposition 1 will focus on property crimes | Letter

Kirkland is proposing an important measure to advance public safety services in… Continue reading

Kavanaugh should be rejected | Letter

I find Republican caviling at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings baffling. For just… Continue reading

Having a ‘best friend’ ready to help you manage – powers of attorney | Coming of Age…Again

A power of attorney is easy to create and get signed but it can be abused.

The default in our own stories | Editorial

Senior editor Samantha Pak reflects on what representation in media means to her.

No excuse for fake news rhetoric | Editorial

Journalists are being tossed into the anti-media waters being chummed by President Trump and others.

MIchelle Metzler
Secrets to a sustainable summer | Guest Column

What can you do to help sustain a healthy recycling system in our community?

An evening to remember: the night Jubal Flagg sat on my couch

An honest review of Jubal Flagg’s comedy show, ‘Burn it Down.’

Pak headshot
Freedom to feel safe | Reporter’s Desk

Let’s not forget that July 4 is a day that celebrates the freedoms we have in this country.

For breakfast | From Kirkland to Quito

The sierran Ecuadorian concept of breakfast food is more savory and open to interpretation.