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A December 5, 2008, accident in Sardine Canyon caused by an 18-year-old drowsy driver took the lives of an adult couple and a 9-year-old girl. The parents of the adult woman, who are now caring for the couple’s two crash survivor children, are now speaking out on the dangers of drowsy driving. According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, they are telling the story of what happened to their family as officials recently announced the installation of signs between North Weber and Box Elder County encouraging sleepy drivers to pull off the road at their earliest opportunity to rest.

The article offers some startling statistics:

Drowsy driving by the numbers

» Since 2006, Utah has averaged 1,220 crashes and 32 deaths each year

» Young drivers age 25 or younger are involved in nearly half of all crashes

» Male drivers were 1.8 times more likely to be in a crash

» 6 a.m. to 8:59 a.m. had the highest number of incidents

» Juab, Millard, Daggett, Piute and Sevier counties had the highest percent of crashes

» Crashes in rural counties were 3.4 times more likely to involve drowsy driving than urban counties

Source: Utah Highway Patrol

And some helpful information:

Warning signs of drowsy driving

» Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking and heavy eyelids

» Daydreaming or wandering thoughts

» Trouble remembering the last few miles driven

» Yawning or repeatedly rubbing your eyes

» Trouble keeping your head up

» Drifting from your lane, tailgating or hitting a shoulder rumble strip

» Feeling restless and irritable

If you experience any of these warning signs, don’t rely on caffeine or other stimulants to keep you on course. Stop and rest even if that will make you late. Arrive alive and help keep others safe.

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