Updated: August 13, 2013 6:38AM
The tragic death of Illinois State Police Trooper James Sauter, who was killed in an accident when a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel, is a cautionary reminder of the danger of drowsy driving.
Each year, drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes and 1,550 deaths on our roads nationwide. To prevent drowsy driving among truckers, leaders in the transportation industry must create a new workplace culture that emphasizes the importance of sleep for health and safety.
This requires more than hours of service regulations. Trucking companies must educate employees about healthy sleep habits, train dispatchers and drivers to recognize the signs of fatigue and schedule work shifts based on sleep need and circadian timing.
They also should provide screenings for obstructive sleep apnea, a common sleep illness that can cause excessive sleepiness. It also is important to remember that all drivers have a responsibility to make our roads safer.
Make it a priority to get enough sleep each night and pull off the road if you are struggling to stay awake. Sleep is a necessity, not an option.
M. Safwan Badr, M.D.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Metra’s problems extensive
I found the recent news about Metra delays on the Burlington Northern Line very interesting, but while that line’s problems are big news, Metra’s SouthWest Service Line experiences delays almost on a daily basis and yet no one cares so much about its commuters.
Metra has been operating with an aged fleet for years, which will increase the chances of mechanical problems. Many of the passenger cars, especially the ones that have BNSF on the sides, leak and maintenance of stations is almost nonexistent.
The Rock Island Line seems to have a better track record than the SouthWest Service, yet Metra’s fly-over is being built near the Rock Island Line. How will this help reduce delays on the SouthWest Service?
I have repeatedly asked Metra officials to expand service to and from Manhattan, and they have said that the ridership does not justify an expansion of service. Of course not, because the on-time performance and service delays on the SouthWest Service have forced riders to take the Rock Island Line.
Kevin P. Malone
What about overcrowded schools?
The Chicago Public Schools Board voted to close 49 elementary schools and one high school because of low enrollment.
What are the board’s long-range plans to deal with schools that are very overcrowded, mainly on the Southwest and Northwest sides of Chicago?
Many of these overcrowded elementary schools have split classrooms. This is unacceptable.
Our tax money pays for public education in this city, and CPS students deserve an equal and quality education.