Driver falls asleep at wheel, crashes into guardrail on I-40
By Ken Childers
An Okemah man was injured in a single-car crash last week when he fell asleep at the wheel while driving on Interstate 40.
According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, 32-year-old Matthew Underwood was westbound in a 1996 Chevrolet when he drifted of to sleep, causing the vehicle to run off the left side of the roadway and hit a guardrail. The accident occurred May 20 at 3:25 a.m. in Seminole County at mile marker 208.
Underwood was transported by Creek Nation EMS to St. Anthony Hospital in Shawnee, where he was listed in stable condition with trunk-internal and trunk-external injuries.
The vehicle’s airbags were deployed and Underwood was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, according to the OHP report.
The accident was investigated by Trooper Dion Wild #732 of the Seminole County Detachment of Troop D. The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and Strother Fire Department provided assistance.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that every year about 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving. These crashes result in more than 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries. The real number may be much higher, however, as it is difficult to determine whether a driver was drowsy at the time of a crash.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, about half of U.S. adult drivers admit to consistently getting behind the wheel while feeling drowsy. About 20 percent admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point in the past year, with more than 40 percent admitting this has happened at least once in their driving careers.