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

Mum’s the word: incorporate this plant into your season displays

If your landscape is not a blaze of autumn glory this week,… Continue reading

Lawmakers to governor: How dare you mess with our budget!

They want Jay Inslee to halt his planned $175 million reallocation of state transportation dollars.

Letters to the editor

Renton Councilmember, Mayor Law support Armondo Pavone Dear editor, For over 20… Continue reading

Making sense out of the census

2020 Census Renton needs your participation

Still more gardening to do before winter

It’s the third week of September and there is still plenty to… Continue reading

Guest opinion: Gov. Inslee passes up a chance to confront corporate ‘blackmail’

Jay Inslee had a chance recently to face his muggers. He didn’t… Continue reading

‘Butterfly effect’ brings change, good or bad, in all our lives

“Predictability: Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set a… Continue reading

We all benefit when we’re open to new ideas

When I drive in my car, I often listen to the PBS… Continue reading

Fall is for hydrangeas

Don’t miss Windmill Gardens “Smart Gardening Ideas for Fall” at 10 a.m.… Continue reading

Letters to the editor for the week of Sept. 13

Reader wishes more council members were responsive Dear editor, Our council members… Continue reading

x
Did Inslee’s 12-word veto cross the line?

OLYMPIA — When Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed a 12-word sentence in the… Continue reading

Letters to the editor for the week of Sept. 6

Reader argues for Renton’s inclusivity Dear Editor, With all my respect, I… Continue reading