Massachusetts drowsy driving bill nods in committee

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The last action on a Massachusetts bill that would make drowsy driving a criminal offense occurred June 24, when it was sent to a joint legislative transportation committee for consideration.

State Sen. Richard Moore, the Democrat who sponsored the bill, cited the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s estimate that 100,000 crashes a year result from driver exhaustion.

The bill would require police to have better training in recognizing sleep-deprived drivers, include sleep issues in license exams and add sleep-disorder experts to the state medical advisory board.

What punishment would be legislated for offenders was not immediately clear.

In 2004, New Jersey enacted a law that makes people caught driving after 24 sleepless hours subject to charges of vehicular homicide. Violators could receive a 10-year maximum sentence and a $100,000 fine.