Former CHP Officer Warns Of Drowsy Driving

Wife Of Former CHP Officer, Current Sky10 Reporter Phil Konstantin Died After Falling Asleep At Wheel

A member of the 10News team is helping raise awareness to the problem of drowsy driving.

According to a 2010 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 41 percent of drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at some point in their lives.

10News Sky 10 reporter Phil Konstantin is one of the leading advocates in drowsy driving awareness. His wife, Robyn, died in 1999 after she fell asleep at the wheel.

Konstantin said, "She made it to about 60 to 70 miles to El Paso [Texas] when she nodded off on a curve on the road."

Konstantin provided photos of the damage to his wife's car after it struck the guardrail. Part of the roof was cut open and folded back to remove her from the vehicle.

"Oddly enough, she drove right by a 'Park-n-Ride' about a mile and half before she crashed," said Konstantin.

Konstantin added, "It sneaks up on you; it's happened to me several times. You are just driving along and the next thing you know, you were asleep."

Konstantin, a former California Highway Patrol officer, often spoke about the problem of drowsy driving before his wife died. He started a website to help raise attention to the problem, and in 2005, he helped establish April 6 as Drowsy Driver Awareness Day in California to educate people so they don't get behind the wheel if they are tired.

"It's rather ironic that something I would talk about and warn people about is how my own wife died, so it can happen to anyone," he said.

According to AAA study, 16- to 24-year-olds were the most likely to report having fallen asleep while driving within the past year.

Konstantin said it is an underreported issue because most people won't admit it has happened to them.

For more information on Drowsy Driver Awareness Day, visit drowsydriverawarenessday.com.