Don’t give in to the pressure of driving drowsy | GUEST COMMENTARY

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

  • Monday, November 13, 2017 8:00am
  • Opinion

By Mora Shaw (guest columnist)

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 over two years of my life at the hospital and in rehab. I am only 29 years old but have early-age arthritis.

The driver that 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 eighteen to twenty four 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 where 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 Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s 2016 Washington State Drowsy Driving Prevention and Awareness Week proclamation, the Shaw family have also partnered with the Washington State Patrol, the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, AAA of Washington, The Washington State Department of Transportation and the King County Sheriffs’ Office in their efforts to promote Drowsy Driving awareness and prevention in Washington State. The statewide proclamation is also in concert with the National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation’s Drowsy Driving website: http://drowsydriving.org.

More in Opinion

Write this down, take a little note then send it to the editor

The Reporter is looking for guest opinion writers

A historic era ends, another begins

The Frank Chopp era is over. Washington’s longest-serving speaker of the state… Continue reading

Nerd versus flies

I’ve always held that it would be better to fight 100 duck-sized… Continue reading

Readers are invited to discuss the future of the paper over coffee

Danielle Chastaine takes over as the new editor of the Renton / Covington-Maple Valley Reporter

Richard Elfers
Seeking real freedom, no matter what the era

Each age has a spirit or attitude that dominates over and competes with other worldviews.

Balancing individual rights and the common good

Which is more important, serving the common good of a society or… Continue reading

The crucial elements to good government

What makes good government? What makes bad government? We all have experienced… Continue reading

Enumclaw: trying to retain original charm while building booms

All Puget Sound areas are growing. In Enumclaw, the question is, how will its original charm be maintain while building booms throughout the city?

Are sheriffs above the law?

Washington voters have spoken on I-1639. Sheriffs need to set the stage to follow their oath of office - and enforce the law.

Fueling educational opportunity in Washington

By Allison Morrell How can public school students care for a sick… Continue reading

Sometimes, the smaller things matter more than the big picture

Recently I took a group of senior citizens to tour the Amazon… Continue reading

Why not change the name to match the location?

To Lakeside Industries, As a longtime resident of Renton, I’m concerned about… Continue reading