One in five motorists admits having fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year, says the National Sleep Foundation, which is trying to get drowsy drivers off the road.
"I think in our society we are quite used to denying our tiredness," said director Richard Gelula, whose organization commissioned a study. "We believe that sleep is something that we can cheat on."
Studies show that drowsy drivers have slower reaction time; impaired judgment and vision; increased moodiness and aggressive behavior; and more difficulty following road signs.
"It's a form of impaired driving, really," said Judith Stone, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. "It's in the same kind of category as drunk driving."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates drowsy drivers cause 100,000 crashes each year that result in more than 1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries. By comparison, 16,653 people were killed last year in alcohol-related crashes.
Condit defers fund-raiser,
delays decision on running
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., has indefinitely postponed his annual fund-raiser because of the terrorist attacks and still has not decided whether to seek re-election.
Condit sent a letter to supporters announcing that the 26th annual Condit Country Roundup scheduled Oct. 20 has been postponed indefinitely. The $35-a-person event, which has drawn thousands of people in past years, was to be held at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, Calif.
Condit did not mention his political future, but his chief of staff, Michael Lynch, said Tuesday that no decision has been made.
The fund-raiser was being watched as a barometer of the congressman's popularity in the wake of intense scrutiny of Condit's relationship with Chandra Levy, a 24-year-old intern from Modesto, Calif., who disappeared in Washington nearly five months ago.
Safety efforts criticized
at mine where 13 died
BROOKWOOD, Ala. (AP) -- The co-workers and families of 13 victims killed in two deep coal mine explosions want to know why the mine wasn't made safer after several dangerous incidents that preceded the weekend blast.
Some miners said rising levels of volatile methane gas had been ignored by officials at Jim Walter Resources, the mine operator. The Sunday explosions have been blamed on methane igniting after a cave-in.
"They wouldn't listen. They didn't do anything," said Shirley Hyche, a miner for 20 years at the Blue Creek No. 5 mine, where the accident occurred.
Kyle Parks, a spokesman for Walter Industries, parent company of the mine operator, said the company won't comment on the miners' complaints until the investigation is complete.
Blue Creek No. 5 mine reported about 10 accidents with serious, nonfatal injuries for every 200,000 hours worked last year, according to statistics from the Mine Safety and Health Administration. That was 20 percent more than the national rate of 8.3 accidents.
some Southern geography
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The last time Florida residents checked, most of the Okefenokee Swamp was in Georgia.
But somebody forgot to tell Anheuser-Busch.
The beer brewer is pulling the plug on a billboard in Jacksonville that has a picture of a swamp labeled as the Okefenokee Refuge. The caption reads: "Busch Beer and the Okefenokee -- Two Florida Greats."
The billboard confused locals because more than 95 percent of the national wildlife refuge is in Georgia, not Florida. The billboard was the result of a Busch photo contest that placed winning photos of various regions of the country on some company billboards.
"The billboard mentioning the Okefenokee Refuge is incorrect," Mary Alice Ramirez, a corporate spokeswoman, told the Florida Times-Union. "Anheuser-Busch apologizes for any confusion or concern its placement may have caused. The billboard will be replaced within the next week."