Like so many other accidents, the important thing to remember regarding accidents involving driver fatigue is that such accidents are preventable. Rosekind is motivated in reducing preventable accidents in part because of own his personal experience. When Rosekind was still a child, his father who was a motorcycle officer died due to another driver running a red light. “I have been touched personally by the tragedy and share that. In 2013, the number of lives lost on our roadways was 32,710, and while that number is coming down, it is still unacceptably high.”
Rosekind compares drowsy driving to distracted, drunk or drugged driving. While fatigued drivers are often not guilty of either being under the influence of drugs or alcohol or talking on a cellphone at the time an accident occurs, every driver must be alert to safely operate a motor vehicle. There’s hope that Rosekind’s efforts could change public awareness about a safety issue that remains mostly unrecognized. There’s been no implementation of well-developed public policies implemented addressing this issue.
Unfortunately, the timeframe for making changes is short. Rosekind only has two more years to make any needed changes. It appears this will not be sufficient time to completely deal with the problem. However, Rosekind hopes to implement core programs at the NHTSA that will continue to have meaning after he’s left his position.
Source: Sleep Review, “On the Road to Fewer Fatigue Crashes,” Lena Kauffman, March 23, 2015