Hackettstown Police Find Driver Asleep at the Wheel

According to Hackettstown police, an Independence Township man was injured this week when he drove his car into a utility pole off of Route 604.

At about 8:14 a.m. on July 6, the Hackettstown Fire Department, the Hackettstown Rescue Squad, and the local police force responded to the scene of an accident at the intersection of Route 604 and Connie Terrace on the report that a car had crashed into a utility pole. Police were able to determine that Thomas Henderson, 57, fell asleep while driving a 2004 Lexus north on Route 604. He hit a utility pole, and then crashed into a tree.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 100,000 police-reported crashes result directly from driver fatigue each year. As a result, there are about 1,550 fatalities, 71,000 injuries, and about $12.5 billion in losses. What’s mortifying is that these estimates are conservative, and may be just the tip of an iceberg.

The CDC reports that the individuals most likely to fall asleep at the wheel are commercial drivers, shift workers, drivers with untreated sleep disorders, drivers who use sleep medications, and — naturally — drivers who did not get enough sleep the night before.

Although automotive manufacturers are innovating future vehicles to be “super-safe” by creating a system that will warn drivers of potential dangers and do everything possible to minimize impending impacts, motorists still need to be wary of their drowsiness and take the necessary steps to overcome it.

You may be at risk of falling asleep at the wheel if you can’t remember the last few miles you drove, you drift over and hit a rumble strip, you’re constantly pulling your vehicle back into its lane, your thoughts are disconnected and wondering, you yawn repeatedly, you can’t focus, you can’t keep your head up, and you miss traffic signals.

This might mean pulling into a gas station or rest stop, and buying a caffeinated beverage. Since it takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to kick in, it’s wise to take that time to nap.

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