Oregon State Police Say Drowsy Driver May Have Caused Head-On Oregon Car Crash on Highway 34 that Injured Two People

Near Corvallis Highway 34, rescuers had to use the Jaws of Life on Monday to extricate the victims of an Oregon car accident. Two people were transported to the hospital for treatment of their injuries.

According to Oregon State Police, a 1999 Toyota Corolla was headed eastbound on Highway 34 when the vehicle crossed the center turn lane, sideswiped a guardrail, and drove head-on into a 1990 Ford Bronco II. The driver of the Toyota, Portland resident Matthew Alexander, and the driver of the Ford, Lebanon resident Janet Smallman, were taken to Corvallis Hospital.

While Alexander, 25, was treated for minor injuries and later released, Smallman was seriously injured. Alexander received citations for reckless endangerment, reckless driving, third-degree assault, driving while suspended, and second-degree criminal mischief. Police think Alexander was fatigued at the time of the Oregon motor vehicle collision.

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some 100,000 police-reported auto accidents a year are caused by driver fatigue. Drowsy driving accidents cause about 71,000 injuries and 1,500 fatalities each year. Many experts, however, believe that these figures do not convey the full scope of this problem.

A drowsy driver is not as alert as a driver that is wide awake, and his or her senses, reflexes, and ability to react to emergencies in a timely manner may be impaired. Certain studies indicate that people that haven’t slept for 24 hours have cognitive-psychomotor abilities that are as impaired as that of someone with a blood alcohol content of 0.10%. The legal driving limit in the US is a BAC of .08%.

A driver that is tired or sleepy may even fall asleep at the wheel, which could cause his or her vehicle to become involved in a head-on crash with another car, a wall, or a tree. This can be especially catastrophic if the driver falls asleep while operating a car or large truck at full speed.

Police: Sleepy driver causes head-on crash, KVAL.com, June 22, 2009
Two Injured in Head-On Crash Near Corvallis, Salem-News, June 22, 2009
Drowsy Driving, AAA
Related Web Resources:
NHTSA

National Safety Council

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Drowsy driving is negligent driving. Contact Portland, Oregon personal injury lawyer Matt Kaplan for a free personal injury case evaluation.