Two similar bills introduced into the Oregon State Legislature in mid-January would establish new penalties for drowsy driving. Under both bills, drivers could face hefty fines and even prison time for accidents due to driving while fatigued.
House Bill 2749 would create multiple levels of punishment ranging from $360 for driving while drowsy to up to 20 years in prison, a $375,000 fine or both for accidents resulting in death related to drowsy driving.
In addition to a $720 fine, House Bill 2768 would add questions about the consequences of drowsy driving to the driver’s license exam. The addition would direct the state Department of Transportation to develop an educational program about the hazards of driving while fatigued.
The AASM and AAST are working with the Oregon State Sleep Society to focus the legislation on drowsy driving education and training of law enforcement officials to detect drowsy and fatigued driving before applying fines or prison sentences.