Early Hours Crash, Outage Caused By Asleep At The Wheel Driver
Jamestown, CA — CHP officials say a drowsy driver colliding with a power pole triggered an early morning power outage.
As reported here, nearly two dozen PG&E customers lost electricity as a result of the incident, which occurred just after 1 a.m. Monday on Jamestown Road approaching Johnny Avenue.
Officials report that 64-year-old Josefina Lee of Sonora was driving a 2015 Chrysler Town & Country north when she fell asleep and awoke as her vehicle hit a utility pole. The impact completely sheared the post, bringing down power and other utility lines down across both lanes of Jamestown Road.
Lee and her passenger, 85-year-old Lewis Lee, were wearing seatbelts and the vehicle’s airbags deployed. They sustained only minor injuries, according to the CHP, which adds that neither alcohol or drugs are suspected to have been a factor in this crash.
CHP Unit spokesperson Faustino Pulido indicates the incident might be considered a wake-up call to drowsy driving, which continues to be a major national issue. “It usually happens when a driver has not slept enough but it can also happen due to untreated sleep disorders, medications, drinking alcohol, or shift work,” he warns.
“No one knows the exact moment when sleep comes over their body — falling asleep at the wheel is clearly dangerous, but being sleepy affects your ability to drive safely even if you don’t fall asleep,” he states. Pulido points out that drowsiness keeps drivers from being able to pay keen attention to the road. It also slows reaction time if you have to brake or steer suddenly and affects a driver’s ability to make good decisions.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers ages 18 or older report having fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013. However, these numbers are considered an underestimation and that drowsy drivers may cause up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year.