News Channel 7 and Blue Ridge Now report that six people were injured Monday in Henderson, North Carolina in two separate accidents in which drivers fell asleep while driving. This resulted in road closures in both cases.
The first accident occurred at approximately 10:45 Monday morning. Investigators state that Jeremy Parker was driving with a revoked license and was driving while impaired when his Dodge Neon crossed the center line, striking an oncoming Honda Pilot. Both vehicles flipped over, and both the driver and passenger of the Honda were trapped and had to be extricated. All three people remain at Mission Hospital, with the driver of the Honda in critical condition. Investigators declined to state what substance Parker was under the influence of.
The second accident occurred a few hours later, at approximately 5:30 pm. Highway Patrol states that Robert Perry Stevenson fell asleep and crossed the center line on U.S. 64, hitting a Lincoln MKZ head-on. Troopers had to extricate all victims, and Stevenson was airlifted to Mission Hospital.
North Carolina Males More Likely to Fall Asleep
A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in conjunction with the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR) found that 75% of all accidents in North Carolina involving drivers who fell asleep at the wheel involved males. The study also found that drivers under the age of 30 caused nearly two-thirds of fall asleep accidents, yet this segment of the population only accounts for one fourth of licensed drivers. The study suggested that young males were at the highest risk for falling asleep at the wheel due to physical changes in maturity that increase the need for sleep, and insufficient sleep.