A truck driver accused of hitting and killing a AAA contractor on the side
of I-85 early Saturday has admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel,
authorities said. Georgia State has released information related to the accident, stating
that 21-year-old John E. Johnson was stopped along the northbound lane
of I-85 near Hamilton Mill Road to assist a 25-year-old Atlanta woman
with a flat tire. Johnson worked at Deerfield Roadside LLC in Bethlehem
as a service technician. He was providing assistance to the woman as a
AAA contractor. Both Johnson and the woman were outside of their vehicles
when the tractor-trailer driven by Marcus Johnswelo Bush ‘sideswiped’
one of their vehicles. The incident occurred around 1:10 early Saturday morning.
The collision forced the car into Johnson, the woman, and the second stopped
vehicle. Johnson was killed, and the woman was transported to Northeast
Georgia Medical Center with injuries, authorities said. After the collision
with the cars, the tractor-trailer came to a final rest in the ditch on
the northbound shoulder. A spokeswoman for the Georgia State Patrol, Tracey
Watson said Monday that Bush, a 43-year old South Carolina resident, told
troopers that he had fallen asleep behind the wheel. Bush has been charged
with second-degree vehicular homicide and failure to maintain lane, both
misdemeanors. As of Monday, he remains in Barrow County jail without bond.
Drowsy Driving a Problem for Many Drivers
In a Sleep in America poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF)
in 2005, 60% of adult drivers, amounting to around 168 million people,
said they had driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy within the last year.
Additionally, more than one-third (37%) of 103 million people have actually
fallen asleep at the wheel. 13% of those said they had done so at least
once a month. Nighttime driving presents many unique risks that daytime
driving does not, and the dangers of falling asleep while at the wheel
is among the biggest and most dangerous. 4% of respondents admitted they
had been involved in, or had a near accident because they have dozed off
at the wheel or were too tired to drive.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that about
100,000 police-reported crashes are the result of driver fatigue each
year, resulting in 1,550 deaths and over 71,000 injuries. These figures
may actually be far higher, as it is difficult to attribute crashes to
fatigue and sleepiness because there is currently no test to determine
sleepiness like there is for intoxication. Sleep-related crashes are most
common in young people. According to the same NSF poll, adults between
the ages of 18-29 are much more likely to drive while drowsy when compared
with other age groups, 71%, as compared with 52% for ages 30-64, and only
19% for ages 65+.
If you have been involved in an accident, whether you were at fault or
not, it is a good idea to contact an attorney. The personal injury attorneys
at Goldstein & Hayes, P.C. are experienced in all types of personal
injury lawsuits. Contact them if you have suffered an injury in an automobile accident.