Labor Day kicks off Florida’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

The Florida legislature designated the first week of Sept. each year as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, to honor 8-year-old Ronshay Dugan, who died in car crash
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 6:22 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - As many of us get ready to hit the road this labor day weekend, Florida Highway Safety is encouraging drivers to stay safe.

Their message: drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

Labor day kicks off Florida’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

The campaign was created 14 years ago when a young girl was killed in Tallahassee in a crash caused by a drowsy driver hitting her school bus.

8-year-old Ronshay Dugans had her life cut short in 2008.

Authorities said it was a drowsy driver in a cement truck who smashed into the back of the school bus Ronshay was riding in.

The Florida legislature later designated the first week of September each year as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, to honor Ronshay’s memory.

Ronshay’s brother, James West, said it’s the only way to make sure his sister didn’t die in vain.

“We want to make sure that no family ever has to witness what we went through, to go through what we went through,” West said. “Probably one of the worst things my family ever experienced. And if we can prevent that from [happening to] any other family, that’s our goal.”

Ronshay’s father, Ron Dugans, said in a statement to WCTV:

“Each Labor Day weekend, my family and I call for awareness about drowsy driving across the state and countrywide to ensure that no one else experiences the pain of losing a love one. We are a close family. We have stuck together for the last 13 years and have continued RonShay’s legacy by promoting the Drowsy Driving campaign.

We are a praying family and we have come to the realization that everything happens for a reason. We will continue to fight for this very important cause, because Ronshay’s spirit lives within all of us. Saving lives is the goal of our campaign. The Dugans family will not stop promoting Drowsy Driving Prevention Week until laws are put into place to prevent drowsy driving all over the country.

We just want to make sure everyone is educated on just how serious the matter is. Again…..No family should have to experience the pain of losing a love one.”

Florida Highway Safety says fatigue can slow down reaction time, affect judgment and vision and impair senses, making driving while tired a dangerous act.

Preventing drowsy driving means getting enough sleep before you drive and taking breaks on long car rides to make sure you stay alert.

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