Drowsy Driving Awareness Week Precedes Baylor Fall Break

Oct. 16, 2000

by Lori Scott Fogleman

WACO, Texas -- As Baylor University students look forward to the school's first fall break this Friday, student government officers are encouraging students to "drive alert" as the university observes Drowsy Driving Awareness Week Oct. 16-19.

For students who will be on the roads during heavy travel times, such as fall, winter and spring breaks, Hampton Inns in five Texas cities and more than 60 Super 8 motels throughout Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin have agreed to provide discounted room rates for college students as part of the Lupe Medina Program, a safety awareness program that strives to prevent drowsy driving during late night hours and heavily traveled times.

"This is an incredibly important issue that faces all of our students, especially since so many will be traveling home or to different states to visit friends," said Baylor student body president Jon Rolph, who will be driving to Lincoln, Neb., for the Baylor-Nebraska football game this weekend.

The 2000 Sleep in America Poll, conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, found that 51 percent of the nation's adults admit to driving while drowsy. Among 18 to 29 year olds, nearly one quarter (24 percent) report actually falling asleep at the wheel at some point in the past year, compared with 15 percent of those aged 30 to 64 and six percent of people 65 and older. According to several studies, sleep-related crashes are more common among younger people, with peak occurrence at age 20.

"I think in lieu of what happened to eight of our own students who were lost last year in drowsy driving accidents, we can't stress enough the importance of staying alert at the wheel," Rolph said. "That's why student government has put both money and time toward this issue and will continue to expand and improve the drowsy driving program."

Participating motels in the Lupe Medina Program are offering special rates to drowsy students traveling at least 50 miles from their home campus. Discounts for students traveling within 50 miles of their home school are at the discretion of the general manager. Students must present a valid student I.D. upon check-in. A complete listing of participating hotels can be found at http://lmp.tamu.edu/parthotels.html .

The hotel discount program grew out of a partnership developed between the student

governments of Baylor University, Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University, after the

tragic deaths of several students in drowsy driving accidents, including Medina, a former Texas A&M Bonfire crew chief, who died in a drowsy driving accident in April 1998. More than 20 U.S. universities, including almost all Big 12 schools, are involved in the program, said Tommy Marshall, Baylor's junior class president from San Antonio.

Baylor student government representatives will be handing out tri-fold cards to students listing the motels participating in the program. Information booths will be set up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the Bill Daniel Student Center and Fountain Mall.

For more information about the program, call the Baylor student government office at (254) 710-2368 or Lori Scott Fogleman, director of media relations, at (254) 710-6275.

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