Although everyone recognizes the dangers they pose to themselves and others on the road when they drive while sleepy, that fact still does not deter many from driving while fatigued. According to results from a survey just released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, one-third of all drivers in the United States have admitted to driving while they were so tired in the past month that they experienced difficulty in keeping their eyes open.
Prior to the Foundation undertaking research for the group’s 2010 study, “Asleep at the Wheel,” it was unclear just how close drowsy driving is to becoming an epidemic in the United States. According to the data, one of every six fatal crashes and one in eight serious injury crashes involved a drowsy driver. These startlingly statistics confirm that drowsy driving is a real hazard to drivers in Florida and on all United States’ highways.
In a press release, AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger stated that while majority of all drivers do recognize that drowsy driving is a serious threat, they tend to have an attitude of “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” when they get behind the wheel. Just like drugged, drunk and distracted driving can kill, so is it with drowsy driving.
The findings in the survey and in the study show it is time to bring awareness to the public about the hazards of getting behind the wheel when tired. To get the word out, the NSF or National Sleep Foundation has declared November 6 to 12 as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week or DDPW.
Primarily targeting young drivers, DDPW fact sheets show that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among young people, claiming nearly 5,600 teenage lives each year. Traffic crashes are the number one killer of U.S. teens. The NSF further reports that, “sleep-related crashes are most common in young people, who tend to stay up late, sleep too little, and drive at night.”
The NSF offers the following tips for ensuring you are fully awake before getting behind the wheel:
- Get plenty of sleep. Adults typically need 7-9 hours, and most teens need 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep, to maintain proper alertness during the day.
- Frequent breaks. When on a long trip plan on stopping every 100 miles or two hours of driving time.
- Avoid alcohol and sedatives. Avoiding alcohol should go without saying. If you are unsure if your prescription medicine causes drowsiness, check with your doctor.
If you do find yourself dozing off when you are driving, the NSF suggests that you stop driving immediately and pull off at a rest stop or public area. Consider taking a nap or checking in to a hotel for the night. Consuming caffeine, taking a short walk and splashing water on your face may be all that is needed to clear your mind from the monotony of driving. If possible, have a passenger take over the driving duties.
Florida officials previously alerted drivers to the dangers of drowsy driving during the state’s Drowsy Driving Awareness Week held September 5-9. Florida’s Drowsy Driving Awareness Week honored Ronshay Dugans, a Tallahassee girl who died when a drowsy driver plowed into the van she was riding in. The week stressed the slogan, “When you snooze behind the wheel, everyone around you loses.”
Our Florida car accident attorneys applaud the efforts of AAA and the National Sleep Foundation for bringing to the public’s attention the hazards of drowsy driving. Drowsy driving, like drunk driving, is entirely preventable and we urge Florida residents to think twice before getting behind the wheel if you feel tired or have been drinking.
Turn To An Experienced Florida Accident Injury Lawyer
If a drowsy driver in a Florida traffic accident caused you injuries, contact an aggressive car accident attorney who has helped many injury victims recover from a serious automobile accident. I am attorney Philip DeBerard. I have more than three decades of legal experience representing people injured in car accidents and other personal injury claims.
At the law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, we pride ourselves on providing one-on-one attention to people across South Florida and the Treasure Coast. Our law firm represents victims of drunk driver accidents across South Florida, including Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Stuart, Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Vero Beach and Palm Beach, and throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast.
Call 1-800-299-8878 now to speak with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney or fill out our online contact form.