be sleeping at the wheel

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be sleeping at the wheel

To be failing to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; to be inattentive to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through before the deadline, but it looks like he was sleeping at the wheel. Our goalkeeper is such a nincompoop. We would have won that match if he hadn't been sleeping at the wheel!
See also: sleep, wheel
References in periodicals archive ?
Ali Ahmad Al Kimdi, who will be turning 29 in a few days, slept at the wheel eight years ago and is still suffering the consequences.
Things might have been different had history slept at the wheel, but as things stood, the Cypriots did not take from the Germans in their organisational skills and vice-versa.