Drowsy Driver Awareness Day Resolution for California
April 6th of each year

by Phil Konstantin

This website is a collection of information about the dangers of driving while drowsy. It also looks at the incident which sparked this effort, the death of my wife Robyn. Posted below is the resolution which declared April 6th as "Drowsy Driver Awareness Day" in the state of California. You can use the menu bar at the top of this page, or the links throughout all of the pages, to look at the articles, photos, links and videos here.

Click here to see the English version of the Drowsy Driver Awareness brochure produced by the California Highway Patrol.
Click here to see the Spanish version of the Drowsy Driver Awareness brochure produced by the California Highway Patrol.

Short video of me doing a Public Service Announcement #1
Short video of my second PSA
Short video of my third PSA

I should note here I have done this as a private citizen. As a part of an official disclaimer, I mention that I was a California Highway Patrol officer when this was enacted. This is to show how familiar I am with this problem. This identification does not imply the official support of the CHP in this effort. (Note: However, the CHP decided to support my educational efforts by creating a brochure, Public Service announcements, and an educational campaign to inform the public of the dangers of driving while drowsy, sleepy or fatigued. The videos are on the Video Page. Click the links above to view copied of their brochures.)

The resolution was submitted to the California Legislature by California State Senator Joseph Dunn.

On March 10th, the resolution pass the California Senate by a vote of 32 to 0.
On April 4, 2005, it passed the California Assembly by unanimous vote with 58 co-authors.
It is was then enrolled by the Secretary of State and is now "official."

Driving while drowsy is a problem almost all driver's have experienced. It is a very insidious problem in that it can affect every driver, and it sneaks up on you. You will see some statistics below about how many people have been killed or injured in collisions related to drowsy, sleepy or fatigued drivers. These numbers are much lower than the actual amount because officials do not always know when a driver has fallen asleep. Often the driver will not admit to having fallen asleep, as that would place them at fault and make them liable. Also, if the driver dies before they can give a statement, we will never know that they fell asleep before they crashed.

As a California Highway Patrol officer, I have experienced these tragedies on a professional basis.

I have fallen asleep behind the wheel. It happened many years ago when my son was a baby and in the hospital. The hospital was some distance from my job (long before I became a CHP Officer), and even further from my home. My son spent 18 days in the hospital. One day after many days of work, spending time with my son, and limited sleep, I fell asleep while driving home. I woke up in the grassy center divider of the Texas interstate. No damage was done, no one was hurt. But, the potential for disaster had been very real. I had felt the change in the roadway and I woke up in time to avoid a collision.

In 1999, I experienced this tragedy on a personal basis. My wife Robyn (see her story on this webpage: http://americanindian.net/sleep.html ) fell asleep behind the wheel while she was traveling from Florida to California. She did not survive the collision that ensued. Robyn was one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. She was also a very good driver. This shows how insidious this problem is, and how it can happen to anyone.

It is my hope that highlighting this problem will help to educate the driving public about this problem. If this project saves the life of just one person, it will have been worth any efforts that I, and the supporters of this proposal, have made.

A sign beside the freeway in Utah in 2007.

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 27

SCR 27, Dunn.  Drowsy Driver Awareness Day. 
   This measure would proclaim April 6, 2005, as Drowsy Driver 
Awareness Day, request the Governor to make a similar proclamation, 
and designate the state's observance of April 6 every year thereafter 
as a memorial day for those people who have died as a result of a 
collision involving a drowsy driver. 
   WHEREAS, From 1993 to 2003, according to statistics compiled by 
the Department of the California Highway Patrol, approximately 100 
people were killed each year in California in collisions where a 
drowsy driver was involved; and 
   WHEREAS, In that 10-year period, 41,228 people have been injured 
in California in collisions where a drowsy driver was involved; and 
   WHEREAS, In that 10-year period, there were 28,533 collisions 
involving a drowsy driver where no one was injured, but significant 
property damage occurred; and 
   WHEREAS, All of these fatalities, injuries, and property damage 
could have been avoided; and 
   WHEREAS, A 1999 poll by the National Sleep Foundation discovered 
that 62 percent of all adults surveyed reported driving a car or 
other motor vehicle while feeling drowsy in the prior year; and 
   WHEREAS, The same poll revealed that 27 percent of the adults 
reported that they had, at some time, dozed off while driving; and 
   WHEREAS, This poll also found that 23 percent of adults stated 
that they know someone who experienced a fall-asleep crash within the 
past year; and 
   WHEREAS, The United States National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately 100,000 
police-reported crashes annually, that is about 1.5 percent of all 
crashes, involve drowsiness or fatigue as a principal causal factor; 
   WHEREAS, At least 71,000 people are injured in fall-asleep crashes 
each year; and, NHTSA estimates these crashes represent $12,500,000 
in monetary losses each year; and 
   WHEREAS, Many more people die each year from crashes related to 
drowsy, sleepy, or fatigued drivers than from many serious illnesses; 
   WHEREAS, Many California residents die each year, including Robyn 
Meryl Amsel Mellon Konstantin, who died in a collision on April 6, 
1999, while driving when she was drowsy; and 
   WHEREAS, This problem can affect every person who operates or 
rides in a motor vehicle, or who walks, stands, or sits near a 
roadway; and 
   WHEREAS, This problem can be solved by making drivers aware of the 
risks of driving without adequate rest; now, therefore, be it 
   Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly 
thereof concurring, That April 6, 2005, is hereby proclaimed by the 
Legislature as Drowsy Driver Awareness Day; and be it further 
   Resolved, That the Governor is requested to make a similar 
proclamation; and be it further 
   Resolved, That this measure be adopted with urgency as this April 
6th marks the sixth anniversary of the death of California resident 
Robyn Meryl Amsel Mellon Konstantin who died in 1999 on that date; 
and be it further 
   Resolved, That April 6th of every year after this resolution is 
enacted be designated as a memorial day to observe the importance of 
educating the public on drowsy driving, and to remember those 
thousands of Californians who have died in collisions related to 
drowsy driving; and be it further 
   Resolved, That the observance of Drowsy Driver Awareness Day 
emphasize the preventability of all crashes related to drowsy 
driving; and be it further 
   Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit a copy of this 
resolution to the author for appropriate distribution and to the 

                               - O -                                

Below is a list of some of the people and organizations who are supported this effort:

The National Sleep Foundation

Fatal Fatigue.com

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving

Inability to remember last few miles
Having disconnected or wandering thoughts
Problems focusing or keeping eyes open
Drifting from lane to lane
Your head keeps nodding or feels heavy
Repeated yawning
Tailgating other vehicles
Missing traffic signs or exits

Steps You Can Take to Avoid this Problem

Get a good night’s sleep before traveling.
Avoid driving late at night, or during your normal sleeping times.
Set realistic travel goals.
Eat healthy meals. Avoid foods high in fat or sugar, which can contribute to fatigue.
Avoid using alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs which affect driving.
Share driving tasks, switch drivers every couple of hours.
Take regular breaks. Stop every two hours to stretch.
Drink water, juice, or soft drinks low in sugar & caffeine. Both can promote short-term alertness, but can increase drowsiness over longer periods of time.
Keep the temperature inside your vehicle cool.
Listen to radio talk shows, rather than music. This format can help keep you alert.

Please feel free to add a link to this site. I am available for media interviews to discuss sleepy drivers or Robyn's crash. Several years ago, I made a series of TV Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for the CHP in which I talk about Robyn's crash. The PSAs might still be available for airplay. You can contact me by e-mail or at the address below if you are interested in doing an interview on this subject.

Phil Konstantin
California Highway Patrol Officer, retired
P.O. Box 17515
San Diego, CA 92177


Click here to see pictures of Robyn's Crash

Short video of me doing PSA #1
Short video of me doing PSA #2
Short video of me doing PSA #3

Link to NHTSA 2011 Stats sheet - Data from 2005 to 2009 (PDF format)

Links to other Drowsy Driver sites:

Statistics related to Drowsy Driver crashes:

Click here to see e-mails I have received about this page

Go to Robyn's Whale Watching page:

Go to Robyn's Obituary:

Click here to see a memorial plaque for Robyn placed on the HMCS Yukon:

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in her name to the:

San Diego Oceans Foundation
"for Robyn"
P.O.Box 90672
San Diego, CA. 92169-2672

Phil Konstantin

P.O.BOX 17515
SAN DIEGO, CA 92177-7515
United States

© Phil Konstantin - 1999-2014

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