While driving drunk or distracted may be a factor in many accidents where there are serious injuries or fatalities, there is another factor that many do not consider. That problem is fatigue. A report released in 2016 by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that people who only get 5 or 6 hours of sleep are twice as likely to crash than those who get seven or more hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. For every hour of lost sleep, the chances of an accident increase. People who got four or five hours of sleep were four times more likely to crash. Research indicates that 20% of fatal accidents involve a driver who is drowsy.
The Marietta Patch reports on an Uber driver who received 15 years, with 5 to be served in prison, after pleading guilty to charges of homicide by vehicle.
The charges stem from a November 30th, 2017 accident in which 38-year-old Lamont Roosevelt Whitaker struck and killed a crossing guard directing traffic outside of Lindley Middle School.
The victim, 64-year-old Edna Mae Umeh, of Austell, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police reports indicate that Whitaker was driving a 2016 Ford Focus westbound on Veteran’s Memorial at Club Drive. He swerved left to avoid stopped traffic and struck Umeh.
While arguing for a strict sentence, prosecutors pointed out that Whitaker told police that he hadn’t been sleepy at the time of the accident. However, when he pled guilty to the charges, Whitaker indicated that he had been working as a Taxi driver and for Uber and was exhausted at the time of the crash and had fallen asleep.
Whitaker was sentenced Monday to 15 years, with 5 of those to be served in prison. Nearly a dozen members of Umeh’s family were in the courtroom to make impact statements.
Whitaker apologized to Umeh’s family at the sentencing hearing.
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