DEAR ABBY: My 19-year-old son fell asleep at the wheel of his car this morning on his way to work. He was driving on the expressway, and his car traveled about 80 feet into a wide median, narrowly missing several large obstacles. He's lucky to be alive; his car was totaled.
My son fell asleep because he was tired. We knew he had been making and receiving a lot of late-night phone calls. This morning, after the car was towed, we went over his cell phone records for the past month and learned that he hasn't gone more than three hours without receiving a call! That's a full month without a good night's sleep.
We have contacted other parents. They are discovering the same thing. Because evenings and weekends are free on many cell phone plans, the kids take full advantage. So they call, and call, and call.
A sleep-deprived driver is as dangerous as a driver who's talking on a cell phone, probably even more so. Parents: Teach your kids to skip the late-night phone calls so they can survive their next drive. -- EYES WIDE OPEN IN N.Y.
DEAR EYES WIDE OPEN: I hope parents and teens will pay attention to your letter. Evening and weekend minutes may have been free on your son's calling plan, but because he didn't use them sensibly, they could have cost him his life.
While young people today have become adept at multi-tasking, one fact remains constant: People need a certain amount of sleep in order for their minds and bodies to function properly. Lack of sleep can adversely affect a person's physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation adversely affects not only our reflexes, but also our mental health and our immune systems. This is something we can control. When staying "connected" becomes an addiction, it's time to pull the plug.