Asleep at the wheel

Today's moment of LOOK OUT!: The Albany County Sheriff's Office says a taxi driver reported falling asleep at the wheel Tuesday afternoon before crashing into the Albany County Justice Center on Chapel Street in downtown Albany, almost hitting a pedestrian. Thankfully, no one was hurt. The incident was captured on a security camera (above).

From the ACSO press release:

The operator reports that he had little sleep the night before and was exhausted and was going to contact his employer, Black and White Taxi, to see if he could leave work early. He further reported that he had just dropped a passenger off. The Albany County Sheriff's Office investigated the crash and fortunately nobody was injured during the incident. The operator was ticketed for Failing to Keep Right and is scheduled to appear in Albany City Traffic Court to answer the charge.

Drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes a year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which notes the problem is probably underreported. There was a case just this summer in Halfmoon in which a man walking along a road was killed when a driver fell asleep and veered off the road. The driver didn't face any charges beyond failure to stay right because of a precedent set by a 1985 Saratoga County case. [NHTSA] [TU] [Saratogian]

Most states -- including New York -- don't have a "driving while drowsy" law. But there's been a bill circulating in the New York legislature for the last few years that would make it a misdemeanor, and a felony if the crash results in a person's death.

The problem has been getting more attention recently as prosecutors have pushed to charge sleepy drivers in crashes, though it's often a hard case to make. [NYT] [FindLaw]

Comments

The woman in the yellow nightgown - it ruined her entire day!

Damn. That was close. I was downtown this afternoon and used that side of Chapel Street to cut from Columbia Street up to City Hall maybe ten or fifteen minutes earlier.

Glad the woman in yellow wasn't seriously injured.

Whoa, what a close close call. So glad this didn't turn out far worse. Amazing.

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