Letter: We Need Drowsy Driving Law

To the Editor:

With the approach of Labor Day and the beginning of the new school year, I would like to bring up the subject of drowsy driving. Drowsy driving is dangerous and unfortunately there are currently no laws in New York State against it. I am pushing for legislation in the Assembly that will make aggravated driving while fatigued a misdemeanor in an attempt to prevent drowsy driving.

Until this proposal becomes law I thought it important to convey some tips to help prevent drowsy driving in the future. A person should not drive if they have been awake for twenty or more hours, or are on six hours or less of sleep. If a driver is feeling fatigued, the driver should get off the road as soon as possible, and either fall asleep or drink a caffeinated beverage. Please note that caffeine will take anywhere between 15-20 minutes to kick in, and is a short-term fix, and is not supposed to replace sleep. Remember that certain medications may cause drowsiness.

On long road trips, such as driving a son or daughter to college, or returning home on vacation, one should get a good night’s sleep and use companion driving, switching every two or three hours.

New Jersey has a law on the books, Maggie’s Law, to make drowsy driving a more punishable offense. Until that happens in New York, let’s all remind each other of the dangers of drowsy driving.


Sandy Galef
Assemblywoman 95th District

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