Drowsy Driving Persists as Fatal Crash Cause

26 August 2016 - By Eugene Herbert

SA is no stranger to the disastrous consequences emanating from drivers
who are drowsy and whose actions impact on the innocent.


While estimates of deaths caused by drowsy drivers in the US range from
2% to 20% of all traffic fatalities, safety officials agree that the extent of
the problem is not fully known. Data is incomplete, and there’s no definitive
tool available to determine when a motorist is too tired to drive.


An independent report - commissioned by National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration in the US - notes, the public generally lacks an understanding
of the importance of sleep and how much is needed to drive safely, something
which the infographic below clearly shows.



The report calls for a cultural change in how drowsy driving is viewed
by the public. The document cites a previous study showing that 33% of 18- to
34-year-olds and 19% of 35- to 54-year-olds believe that to get ahead in their
careers, they need to survive on less sleep.


Too often, sacrificing sleep is seen as a sign of commitment, and many
drivers mistakenly believe they can simply will themselves to stay awake behind
the wheel when they are fatigued.


Common to all drowsy drivers is that they exhibit slower reaction times,
impaired judgment, and higher levels of risk taking, more frequent blinking and
eye closure, deficits in cognitive performance, memory impairment, attention
failure, and diminished visual awareness. Groups at a higher risk for drowsy
driving include students, shift and night workers, tired law enforcement
officials, Doctors (in certain sectors) emergency medical service providers,
healthcare workers, commercial vehicle operators, and people with sleep
disorders.


You will note the results show that drowsy driving crashes typically
occur late at night, in the early morning hours, or in mid-afternoon. They are
likely to cause serious injury or death and involve a single vehicle leaving
the roadway. Additionally, drowsy driving crashes often occur on high-speed
roadways, involve a driver traveling alone, and leave no evidence of
last-moment braking to avert the collision.


http://cdn.oas-c18.adnxs.com/RealMedia/ads/Creatives/default/empty.gifTill next time - Drive safe & Drive
awake.


Eugene Herbert



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