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Troopers warn against sleepy driving

Posted January 1, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— The state Highway Patrol is warning drivers of the dangers of operating a motor vehicle while tired.

“This is an everyday problem. It’s as bad as driving while impaired,” N.C. Trooper Beckley Vaughan said Thursday.

Vaughan said he has gotten reports of drivers being impaired when they were just tired. Drivers who fall asleep at the wheel are putting other drivers at risk, he said.

“With 'fatigue drivers,' those who do fall asleep, they have absolutely no control over the vehicle. They don’t know where they’re going to go. The vehicle pretty much takes over,” Vaughan said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates sleep related accidents result in 40,000 injuries annually.

Drivers who fall asleep put others, themselves at risk Drivers who fall asleep put others, themselves at risk

Erick Jerome, of Clayton, was minutes away from his home when he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a ditch on Ten Ten Road in Wake County on Thursday.

Jerome was on his way home from a shift at Wal-Mart – one of his two jobs. He is also employed at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Jerome said that when he got behind the wheel of his car, he didn't realize he was so tired. He called his wife, Barbara, and said he had just hung up with her before the accident.

“I just lost control. The next thing I knew, I was in a ditch,” Jerome said.

Barbara Jerome said she was just grateful her husband is able to walk away from the crash.

“I could have lost my husband today – the first day of 2009,” she said.

Earlier Thursday, Patrick Jacob, 17, a junior at Princeton High School, wrecked on Bakers Chapel Road due to fatigue.

Trooper D. Braswell said Jacobs was driving home from an overnight New Year's event at church when he lost control and landed upside down in a ditch.

Jacobs was listed in good condition Thursday evening.

Troopers advise drivers to avoid driving when they are tired.

“There are many fatal accidents that are the result of fatigue drivers,” Vaughan said.

If fatigue sets in while driving, troopers suggest pulling over and making other arrangements to get to your destination.


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  • wildtyke Jan 2, 2009

    The government may not have forced this particular man to drive whilst he was exhausted, however, it does force the police themselves to do so. Consider that they are working 12 hour shifts, some of them working for much longer. Does being a cop make them any safer than anyone else? I think not. It seems almosy hypocritical for the troopers to warn against this when they are in fact the worst offenders.

  • busylady Jan 2, 2009

    garden- the government has nothing to do with his accident. It's absolutely ridiculous to think the government was forcing this guy to drive while he is exhausted. Where my irritation comes in is when I read the quote where his wife was saying thank god her husband wasn't hurt. If that were my husband, I would be just as concerned that he didn't hurt anybody else in an accident that was his fault.

  • garden Jan 2, 2009

    What has the government got to do with this guys accident??????

  • busylady Jan 2, 2009

    To all those that think I'm being mean.....if her husband would have killed your child or spouse or any family member in that wreck....let's see how mean you think I would be then.

  • goldenarm6 Jan 2, 2009

    "He should be put in jail for a lesson, at least someone impaired is still awake." - cynsless1

    Okay, THAT is just plain dumb! LOL! The name says it all I guess....

  • cynsless1 Jan 2, 2009

    He should be put in jail for a lesson, at least someone impaired is still awake.

  • fundybasher Jan 2, 2009

    "Blaming George Bush for some dude running his car into a ditch. I have heard it all."

    Yep. Almost as crazy as blaming the government.

  • goldenarm6 Jan 2, 2009

    busylady wrote this nonsense :
    "This is to Barbara Jerome: I am adressing your comment of how you said you could have lost your husband the first day of 2009.......YOUR HUSBAND COULD HAVE KILLED SOMEONE ELSE TOO LADY!! I personally am grateful he didn't take an innocent life. What an incredibly selfish comment for you to make."

    Busylady, good grief, relax. I'm sure that fact is not lost on the woman, but as another poster said, put yourself in her shoes for a second...

    The great thing is that NO ONE was killed in these two accidents...

  • sophiemom Jan 2, 2009

    I am glad he is okay. I would avoid passing judgement on this individual as one poster decided to do. It is a lot easier to nod off while driving than most people realize. But I wonder how many accidents are caused by a more preventable problem.. talking on the cell phone while driving.

  • Chevelle Mackaroy Jan 2, 2009

    Blaming George Bush for some dude running his car into a ditch. I have heard it all.