Narcolepsy sufferer crashed car into tree, killing his fiancee, after nodding off at wheel
by adamt95 on October 10, 2014 - 12:01pm
Australian native, Alan Leslie Styman was diagnosed with narcolepsy in 2004. For those who aren't aware, narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder, which gives you an "excessive" urge to sleep, at what can be charecterized as "innapropriate" times. In 2010, due to his narcolepsy, Styman crashed his car into a tree, killing his finacee. Just prior to the accident, Styman experienced a "microsleep", which is a brief sleep period. He tried to apply the breaks, but it was too late. If you thought this wasn't already bad enough, Styman had been told by a specialist NOT to drive. Styman recently pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, which caused the death of his fiancee. However, Styman was given a license to drive from doctors, who were not fully aware of his condition. Prior to the loss of fiancee, Styman had been suffering from severe depression. Due to the severe impact the accident had on Styman and his fiancee's family, a deterrent prison sentence was imposed. Styman was given a prison sentence of four years for his crime and was released after one. Styman was then disqualified from diving indefinitely.
In my opinion, this appears to be a pretty open and shut case. If you are suffering from a condition which might make you fall asleep at any given time, I think it might be a good idea to stay off the roads. Regardless if he was given a special license by doctors to drive, he should have considered the betterment of those around him first. Although I do sympathize with him for the loss of his fiancee, he had no busniess driving with her under ANY circumstance. She must have been aware to some extent of his condition, which brings up the question, why would she get in a car with him in the first place? She put her life in his hands and paid the consequence of her life. I don't happen to agree with the prison term of 4 years that he recieved. For me, this case can be compared to that of a drunk driver hitting a pedestrian. If you are under the influence of alcohol, you should not be driving. Just as if you are vulnerable to fall asleep at the wheel at any given time. Both situations involve making decisions, which aren't all that difficult.