National Sleep Foundation Releases Safety Guidelines for Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®

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Date:
Monday, November 8, 2010

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2010
Contact: Jennifer Cowher Williams
National Sleep Foundation
Phone: (202) 347-3471 ext. 211
Email: jwilliams@sleepfoundation.org


DROWSY DRIVING CRASHES: PREVALENT AND PREVENTABLE
National Sleep Foundation Releases Safety Guidelines for Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®

 

WASHINGTON, DC, November 8, 2010 - Today kicks off Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®, a National Sleep Foundation public awareness campaign to educate drivers about sleep safety. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a new study showing that the tragedy of drowsy driving is more pervasive than shown in previous estimates. Their study shows that drowsy driving involves about one in six deadly crashes; one in eight crashes resulting in occupant hospitalization, and one in fourteen crashes in which a vehicle was towed. These percentages are substantially higher than most previous estimates, suggesting that the contribution of drowsy driving to motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and deaths has not been fully appreciated. "This should be a wake up call to our legislators and our elected representatives," says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. "Driving while drowsy seriously affects our safety on the road. More action and education are needed to combat this problem." According to the Foundation's 2009 Sleep in America poll, about one-third (28%) of Americans admitted that they have fallen asleep behind the wheel within the past year, and more than half (54%) said they have driven while drowsy. The AAA Foundation study shows that more than a quarter of surveyed adults admitted they drove despite being so tired that they had difficulty keeping their eyes open in the previous month. "It is shocking that so many people admit that they frequently drive in an incapacitated state," says Cloud. "The good news is that fatigue related crashes are preventable. The bad news is that there is a knowledge and awareness gap about the danger of driving when you're too sleepy. Many people think they can will themselves to stay awake no matter how tired they are, but science shows us that simply isn't true." Sleepiness can impair drivers by causing slower reaction times, vision impairment, lapses in