Kusal Mendis: His Car Killing and Aftermath reviewed on Facebook

Sugath Kulatunga on Facebook

As a person who has experienced dozing off on the wheel on long drives during my youth, I am sorry to see the virulent criticism of Kusal Mendis on the fatal accident caused by him. Falling asleep on the wheel can happen to any driver who has been driving for long hours or who is tired. This is not an attempt to exculpate Kusal from any guilt but to give a different aspect of the issue. Specific statistics on this category of accidents are not readily available in Sri Lanka. But it can be assumed to be fairly high.

For the information of the public and critics I produce an extract from a report on the subject from the United States: “According to the National Sleep Foundation, about half of U.S. adult drivers admit to consistently getting behind the wheel while feeling drowsy. About 20% admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point in the past year – with more than 40% admitting this has happened at least once in their driving careers.
These startling figures show how prevalent drowsy driving is. What drivers may not realize is how much drowsy driving puts themselves – and others – at risk. In fact, an estimated 5,000 people died in 2015 in crashes involving drowsy driving, according to a Governors Highway Safety Association report.
Impact of Drowsiness on Driving
Driving while drowsy is similar to driving under influence of alcohol:
• Drivers’ reaction times, awareness of hazards and ability to sustain attention all worsen the drowsier the driver is
• Driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% – the U.S. legal limit
• You are three times more likely to be in a car crash if you are fatigued
A driver might not even know when he or she is fatigued because signs of fatigue are hard to identify. Some people may also experience micro-sleep – short, involuntary periods of inattention. In the 4 or 5 seconds a driver experiences micro-sleep, at highway speed, the vehicle will travel the length of a football field.
Prevalence of Drowsy Driving Crashes
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every year about 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving. These crashes result in more than 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries. The real number may be much higher, however, as it is difficult to determine whether a driver was drowsy at the time of a crash.
A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated that 328,000 drowsy driving crashes occur annually. That’s more than three times the police-reported number. The same study found that 109,000 of those drowsy driving crashes resulted in an injury and about 6,400 were fatal. The researchers suggest the prevalence of drowsy driving fatalities is more than 350% greater than reported.”

Comments on FB

Cdnt he hv stopped for a few minutes and hd a cat nap. Did he hv to attend an important meeting or something? Was he driving for a long time/distance. He cd hv stopped and taken a cab, which are readily available.

Please read the para above- “A driver might not even know when he or she is fatigued because signs of fatigue are hard to identify. Some people may also experience micro-sleep – short, involuntary periods of inattention. In the 4 or 5 seconds a driver …

    • Yasapal Nanyakkara
      After the collision he would been awakened.Then he must take care of the victim.That is the law and human sensitivity.He failed and did the opposite.That is wrong and for that he is guilty
I agree that anyone can meet with an accident. It is his actions his actions afterwards that cannot be reconciled with what is expected of a person in such a situation. The victim was lying on the road for 45 minutes, enough time to have got him to the hospital emergency and given a chance at life. The fact that Kusal failed to do that was unacceptable for me. He did not stop or slowdown. The really difficult thing for me to figure out is how he could see clearly to drive home as the windscreen on the driver’s side was completely disfigured.
I agree that his post accident conduct is unacceptable and not only the driver but the other passengers should have acted differently. If I recollect correctly Kusal’s lawyer stated in courts that Kusal stopped but he was under shock and could not act sensibly.
Sugath Kulatunga, ……………in the CCTV footage it does not show him stopping. Of course he would have panicked. I think that is what happened probably.
     ***************

ALSO NOTE

* https://www.newindianexpress.com/sport/cricket/2020/jul/05/sri-lanka-cricketer-kusal-mendis-arrested-over-car-accident-that-killed-pedestrian-2165695.html

ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY by PRIVATE EMAIL

An EMAIL from Sugath Kulatunga, 11 July 2020:  …. Thank you for giving publicity to the different aspects of Kusal’s accident. I also wrote that the CCTV shows that he was driving on the wrong lane on an open and straight road which means he had lost control of the car.”

An EMAIL from a former Ceylon cricketer, 11 July 2020: “Re Kusal Mendis’ accident I fault him for being out till 5 am after a wedding…. We have just got over a 21/2 month curfew/lockdown and people should be more responsible. I hope the Cricket Board has an inquiry and takes action.”

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Filed under accountability, discrimination, legal issues, life stories, politIcal discourse, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, transport and communications, trauma, unusual people, world events & processes

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