A chain-reaction crash involving four vehicles at an entrance to the Pisgah National Forest in Transylvania County, North Carolina (NC), left one person dead and three other people injured. The fatal accident, which occurred shortly before 3 pm on January 2, 2014, happened near the intersection of NC 280 and Old Capps Road. Police told reporters that the incident began when the 76-year-old driver of an SUV fell asleep behind the wheel and crossed the center line of the rural state highway.
The deceased victim was a passenger in the at-fault driver's vehicle. Two other drivers and a passenger in one of the cars caught in the wreckage sustained serious injuries requiring hospital treatment. Initial charges of causing a death while operating a motor vehicle have been filed against the elderly, fatigued SUV driver.
The deadly collision illustrates the dangers of driving while at risk for falling asleep. Regardless of whether the woman at the wheel of the SUV had taken medication that induced sleepiness, suffered from poor health that made it difficult for her to sleep enough at night or simply had missed an accustomed nap, the result remains that her lapse of attention and loss of control led to the death of another person and the hospitalization of several others.
Fatigued drivers cause thousands of traffic accidents each year, and too many of those crashes take lives and inflict injuries. Everyone owes it to themselves and the people with whom they share the road to only drive when they are well rested and alert.