On September 25, 2004, 26-year old Scott Robb was driving erratically along northbound Route 47 in New Jersey while talking on his cell phone, according to witnesses. Suddenly his minivan veered out of its lane and into southbound traffic, striking and killing Thomas Herring, Jr., 50, who was also driving a minivan. Appearing before Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten, Robb admitted that he had gone without sleep for more than 24 hours and that the accident was caused by his sleepiness and inattention.
. He pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide after agreeing to a deal in which he would receive a five-year prison sentence. Prosecutors in the case relied upon Maggie's Law, which amended the vehicular statute in August 2003 to criminalize drowsy driving that leads to fatal accidents. Robb will have to serve 85 percent of the five-year sentence before being eligible for parole. Maggie's Law was named after Maggie McDonnell, a 20-year-old college student who lost her life in 1997 to a driver who had admitted to being awake for more than 30 hours. Maggie's mother, Carole McDonnell, worked with her state representatives in New Jersey and the National Sleep Foundation to pass the first law in the nation that specifically addresses the issue of drowsy driving.
© 2005 National Sleep Foundation