1998 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Representative Compretta

House Concurrent Resolution 166


WHEREAS, driver fatigue contributes significantly to the traffic accidents that result in death and serious injury to Mississippi motorists and pedestrians; and

WHEREAS, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that driver fatigue is responsible for over 100,000 crashes per year which kill 1,500 people, injure 71,000 people and is the cause of a number of motor vehicle fatalities annually in Mississippi; and

WHEREAS, drivers must perform a series of coordinated tasks using their hands, feet, eyes, ears and body movements to drive safely and defensively, and effective performance of such tasks may be affected by fatigue; and

WHEREAS, driver fatigue and impairment is often caused by excessive driving and the foregoing of necessary sleep in order to make deadlines and schedules; and

WHEREAS, while the use of alcoholic beverages is frequently blamed for automobile accidents, driver fatigue and impairment may often be caused or worsened by the use of substances other than alcohol which may include herbal remedies, "designer drugs," and sedating medications - both prescription and over-the-counter; and

WHEREAS, Citizens Against Drug Impaired Drivers reports that of the approximately 43,000 annual motor fatalities in the United States, 10,000 to 15,000 fatalities involve substances other than alcohol; and

WHEREAS, the law enforcement community of Mississippi is united in its opposition to drivers' use of any substance to the extent that it might impair driving performance; and

WHEREAS, Mississippi has enacted a law that imposes penalties on drivers who have been identified as driving impaired as a result of the improper use of sedating substances; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Public Safety, Division of Public Safety Planning has been vigilant in its efforts to keep the motoring public informed of the dangers of driving impaired as a result of excessive fatigue or the use of sedating substances other than alcohol, and should be commended for its efforts; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper in the interest of public safety, to periodically call special attention to the drivers of Mississippi to the dangers of driving while fatigued, sedated or otherwise impaired and the potential that various substances other than alcohol, when consumed before driving a motor vehicle, may impair a driver's ability to safely maneuver a motor vehicle:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN, That each week immediately preceding the driving holidays of Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Day is hereby declared "Safe Driver Awareness Week" in the State of Mississippi.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we urge all necessary actions be taken by the appropriate state agencies to publicize these special weeks and, within the limitations of their existing resources, to inform and educate the public throughout the year on the dangers of driving while fatigued or under the influence of any substance, whether alcoholic or nonalcoholic.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies be furnished to the members of the Capitol Press Corps.