New Jersey law targets sleepy drivers
No driver has yet been charged under the law, which went into effect last month and was named for a 20-year-old college student killed in 1997 by a van driver who admitted having been up for 30 hours.
Studies estimate 51 percent of motorists feel drowsy behind the wheel, and about one of every five drivers say they have fallen asleep while driving in the past year.
"We are so accustomed to being fatigued and tired and sleepy that it's part of our daily life and we think nothing of getting behind the wheel and driving despite the horrible ramifications of that act," said Marcia Stein of the National Sleep Foundation, a nonprofit research organization.
Safety advocates expect the New Jersey law will lead prosecutors to consider sleep deprivation when investigating accidents and will push other states to crack down on sleepy driving the way many did against drunken driving two decades ago.