Eleven years after Mora Shaw nearly died in a vehicle crash caused by drowsy driving, the 29-year-old Issaquah native says she will never get over it.
The crash occurred on a remote highway in the Cascade Mountains after her friend dozed off at the wheel at 65 mph, slamming the vehicle into a tree. Mora would later learn that her friend had been awake for almost 24 hours before deciding to drive that day.
Mora’s body was pinned inside the front passenger seat of the crumpled car; emergency crews were more than a half hour away. If not for the help of a trauma nurse who happened upon the scene of the wreck, Mora’s family believes she would have died.
“In the accident, my ankle was crushed so bad that I am never able to run again, and I will need more surgery on it throughout my life,” Mora said. “From my hips to my feet, my body is held together with plates and screws. I received a traumatic brain injury and lost over two years of my life at the hospital and in rehab.”
Mora shares her story every November as part of Drowsy Driving Awareness and Prevention Week in Washington, proclaimed this year by Gov. Jay Inslee for Nov. 5–12. The statewide proclamation coincides with National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation’s Drowsy Driving website.
Being continuously awake for 18 to 24 hours, or longer, makes someone unfit to drive. Driving during hours normally spent sleeping also increases the risk of drowsy driving.
“My damaged body, brain and spirit will never get over it,” Mora said. “Every single day, my aches and pains remind me of that driver’s poor decision to drive a car when she had not slept for almost 24 hours.”
There is a simple solution, she added. “It can so easily be avoided with proper sleep and mindfulness when getting behind the wheel of the car.”
Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.