Driving when tired may be comparable to driving while intoxicated

A Montreal coroner is pushing for more severe penalties for drivers who get behind the wheel when they are tired. According to Quoc Boa Do, fatigue can impair the driver in much the same way as alcohol and drugs.

The coroner says that the laws governing fatigue should therefore be as stringent as those governing drunk driving. Quoc Boa Do became interested in the issue of driver fatigue after an accident in the Lanaudière region claimed the lives of five people three years ago.

The driver of a minivan involved in the crash had fallen asleep at the wheel.

According to the Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec, fatigue is responsible for about 100 deaths and 9,000 injuries annually on the roads.

According to Quoc Boa Do, more must be done to educate drivers about the dangers of driving when fatigued. He asked the SAAQ to do more advocacy and recommends tougher penalties on those recognized of driving when tired. The coroner believes that the province should punish the offending driver in the same way it would a driver who is caught driving while intoxicated.

Still according to the expert, rest areas should be installed along the various highways to allow drivers to safely stop and rest, as is done in the United States.