Something's been bothering me about the incident of the driver of a car
falling asleep and hitting a cyclist. There was also a recent incident
of a woman falling asleep while driving - I think it was in Fairfax - no
fatalities but she and her child were injured. We hear about similar
incidents fairly often.
I've been asking myself what the difference is between driving while
sleepy and driving under the influence. Bother are done by choice - i.e.
you usually have some warning signs that you are falling asleep while
driving (hard to keep your eyes open, head nodding, etc.) and you make a
conscious decision to keep driving. Why is there no criminal penalty for
driving while sleepy? The only answer I have come up with so far is you
can't stop someone and do a test to find out if they were sleepy so you
wouldn't be able to prosecute. If I'm nodding off and a cop pulls me
over, I'm certainly going to be wide awake before I come to a stop. And
if "I fell asleep" becomes an admission of guilt that triggers
additional penalty, the guilty are going to stop saying it after an
This is, of course, not just a bike/ped concern but weaving just a bit
seems to create more of a risk to a biker than to a car which at least
has an opportunity to take evasive action.
Last December I drove 1,000 miles straight through to NC by myself
stopping only for gas and a few hamburgers to go. I was somewhat
impaired. Would I have done it if there was a law prohibiting it? Maybe.
Bruce Cunningham's web site: http://www.together.net/~bcunning/
"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large
groups.." (George Carlin proverb)