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Quebec coroner compares driving while drowsy to drunk driving

07/22/2014 01:18 EDT | Updated 09/21/2014 05:59 EDT
A Quebec coroner says driving while fatigued should be treated with more severity and recommends that it be subject to the same heavy fines and penalties usually reserved for people who drive under the influence of alcohol.

Coroner Quoc-Bao Do took three years to complete his investigation into the causes of a collision that killed five men in the Lanaudière region in February 2011. 

The crash happened at a sharp junction, where Highway 345 intersects with Highway 158.

The men, farm workers who were returning home after work, died when their van collided with a school bus carrying children.

Do concluded the driver's fatigued or drowsy state ultimately caused the collision. 

The coroner made two recommendations:

- Heighten Quebec's automobile insurance board's awareness campaign about the dangers of driving while fatigued.

- Post signs along Quebec's highways reminding drivers to stop frequently and warning them about the deadly risk of driving while drowsy.

In his report, the coroner made no mention of the fact that the intersection is well-known for being a dangerous corner. 

In fact, a second fatal crash occurred at that same intersection a few months after the February crash, in August.

In 2012, Quebec's automobile insurance board​ (SAAQ) launched an advertising campaign to prompt drowsy drivers to rest before getting behind the wheel.​

According to the SAAQ an average of 116 people die while driving each year due to fatigue and nearly 10,000 more are injured.

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