According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, updated research shows that there were 10 fatal accidents in Washington state in 2013 that involved drowsy driving and more than 20 percent of crashes in the U.S. involve a drowsy driver.
The National Sleep Foundation – along with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – sponsors Drowsy Driving Prevention and Awareness Week in the United States every November. This year, the awareness campaign runs from November 2nd through the 10th.
The Washington State Patrol (WSP) also partnered with these organizations to help with an awareness campaign in Washington state, likely as part of its Target Zero efforts, which seek to eliminate traffic fatalities in the state by the year 2030.
In recently-published data from a traffic safety research study, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that more than 1-in-4 American drivers – approximately 28 percent – reported being so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open while behind the wheel in the previous month.
Teens, Elder Drivers Least Likely to Drive Drowsy
Not surprisingly, the researchers found that drivers between the ages of 19-24 years were most likely to report driving drowsy at 33 percent of those surveyed. Drivers over 75 years of age and young teen drivers – between 16 and 18 years old – were the least likely to report driving while drowsy.
Of course, this year’s Drowsy Driving Prevention and Awareness Week takes place following the conclusion of Daylight Saving Time, which is scientifically proven to throw off our internal clocks and lead to increased drowsiness and a higher likelihood of being involved in a car accident.
The full press release from the WSP can be found below:
Drowsy Driving Prevention Week
King County: With Daylight Savings Time upon us, the Washington State Patrol would like to remind drivers of the dangers of driving while drowsy. According to research released last year, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found one in four motorists (28 percent) reported being so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open while driving in the past 30 days. Drivers 19-24 years old were most likely to report driving dangerously drowsy at 33 percent while oldest drivers (over 75 years old) and youngest (ages 16-18) were least likely to report drowsy driving.
Driving drowsy can have a tremendous impact on not only the driver but others who are traveling on the highways. Last year, according to the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, there were seven deaths related to drowsy driving in Washington State.
The following are simple tips to help staying awake while driving:
- Get a good night's sleep before hitting the highway.
- Don't be in a hurry to arrive to your destination.
- Take a break every two hours or 100 miles to help get refreshed.
- Use the buddy system to keep you awake and share driving duties.
- Avoid alcohol and medication that may cause drowsiness or have side effects.
- Don't drive when you would normally be sleeping.
The WSP is proud to be a part on the 2014 Washington State Drowsy Driving Prevention and Awareness Week on November 2-10. For more information on drowsy driving and how to prevent it, visit: www.sleepfoundation.org, www.drowsydriving.org, www.aaafoundation.org, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.