Is that driver motoring along next to you ... sleeping?

"Staggering."

That is the term used in a recent Forbes article to describe what is clearly a top-tier safety concern on roadways in Southern California and across the country.

That concern is this: Behind-the-wheel sleeping.

Although most people welcome the bliss of a deep and peaceful sleep, of course, the very idea is sheer horror when a head-down and clearly out-of-it individual just happens to be a motorist with hands loosely draped over the steering wheel of a vehicle going 70 miles per hour.

According to a national safety group, that’s not an uncommon scenario.

In fact, notes the Governors Highway Safety Association, about 5,000 road fatalities resulted last year nationally from drowsy driving.

Extrapolated, that's close to 14 a day, and it's reportedly coupled with an "annual societal cost" (which does not include property damage) of approximately $109 billion.

Forbes points to a flatly eye-popping statistic relevant to a state-of-the-road analysis of America's sleepy drivers, namely, the estimate that about 84 million motorists who seriously need to be in bed rather than behind the wheel are unfortunately in their cars getting from point A to point B -- every day of the week.

The above news is clearly sobering, if not outright scary for drivers across Los Angeles County and the rest of the nation. Motorists are already dealing with a plethora of distractions, and when fatigue in scores of millions of instance is an additional accident-inducing factor on streets and highways, well … .

Although they clearly acknowledge the problem, safety advocates are short on a solution.

They thus stress -- as they routinely do when addressing other road-related concern, as well -- increased education and public awareness.

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