Two weeks ago, a fatal bus crash in Virginia brought new attention to the issue of fatigue in interstate bus drivers.
In the crash, four women were killed and dozens of other passengers were injured when – according to official reports – the bus driver of an interstate discount bus service drifted off to sleep behind the wheel, while the vehicle kept shooting down Interstate 95. When the driver woke up and saw that the bus was out of control he attempted to correct his course, and ended up overturning the bus.
The driver, 37-year-old Kin Yiu Cheung has been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, but safety advocates, sleep scientists and labor leaders say the accident was not entirely his fault, but is rooted in an industry where saving money means that drivers are behind the wheel with too little sleep, and at times of day when the human body craves sleep.
While an overturned bus is certainly a dramatic illustration of the danger of driver-fatigue, it’s important to remember that any driver could be affected by this condition. If you find yourself nodding off on the road, pull over, take a nap, and don’t move your vehicle until you feel rested enough to do so.