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Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Drowst Driving

A Palm Beach Post article highlighted the dangers of drowsy driving, stating it is as dangerous as a DUI. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) categorizes drowsy driving as impaired driving — the same category it uses for driving under the influence.

According to a 2016 Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) estimate, almost 83 million people drive while sleepy every day — and last year, that led to about 5,000 drowsy driving-related deaths.

The NHTSA defines drowsy driving as a form of impaired driving that negatively affects a person’s ability to drive safely. Drowsy driving is not just falling asleep at the wheel. Driver alertness, attention, reaction time, judgment and decision-making are all compromised leading to a greater chance of crashing

Florida’s Drowsy Driving Statistics
  • Palm Beach County ranks in the top five in the nation and fourth in the state for collisions (315) blamed on drowsy driving.
  • Miami-Dade County ranked first last year, with 550 fatigue-related crashes.
  • Broward County had 405 crashes.
  • Orange County experienced 324 crashes.

Sleepiness can impair drivers by causing slower reaction times, vision impairment, lapses in judgment, and delays in processing information. At most risk are young drivers, shift workers, commercial drivers, business travelers and people with untreated sleep disorders.

DrowsyDriving.org provides some tips to help prevent you from falling asleep at the wheel:

  • Don’t drive when you are sleepy
  • Get enough sleep the night before
  • Don’t be too rushed to get to your destination
  • Travel with a passenger and share driving time
  • Take a 15 to 20-minute power nap
  • Schedule breaks every 2 hours or 100 miles
  • Avoid alcohol and medications (including sleep aids and Benadryl) that can cause drowsiness
  • Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep
Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®, established by the National Sleep Foundation (NFS), is November 5-11, 2017. In an effort to reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes and to save lives, the National Sleep Foundation declared the second week of November as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®. The annual campaign provides public education about the under-reported risks of driving while drowsy and countermeasures to improve safety on the road.


Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do (GHSA)

Prevalence of Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving Drowsy Drivers, United States 2009-2013 (AAA Foundation for Traffic)

Drive Safely Work Week™ – October 3-7, 2016 (Network of Employers for Traffic Safety)

Ronshay Dugans Act (Florida Statute)