National Sleep Foundation Brings Awareness to Dangers of Falling Asleep at the Wheel

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

Contact: nsfmedia@sleepfoundation.org

Drowsy Driving Awareness Week Kicks off November 2  

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 2, 2014)— The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) today announced that its annual Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is November 2-9. This year, the NSF encourages all drivers to take a pledge against drowsy driving and urges state legislators to seriously examine drowsy driving in their states.

Drowsy driving is the result of a driver’s impaired abilities to focus and stay alert, due to a lack of sleep. The Pledge Against Drowsy Driving is a National Sleep Foundation initiative that raises public awareness about the dangers of drowsy driving, explains its effect on drivers, and advises how it can be avoided. Drivers can take the Pledge at sleepfoundation.org/drowsy-driving.

As part of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week the NSF is also asking state legislators to examine the prevalence of drowsy driving, evaluate current laws, regulations and enforcement, and provide recommendations on road safety. The NSF recently released model legislation, the Drowsy Driving Reduction Act of 2015 , to assist states in their drowsy driving prevention efforts. Individuals can help advance the model legislation in their state by downloading the NSF’s drowsy driving advocacy kit: sleepfoundation.org/drowsy-driving-advocacy.

“Drowsy driving is a public safety issue that needs to be addressed,” said David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “We believe the public can help decrease drowsy driving and improve the safety of our roads by taking the Pledge, contacting local legislators to support drowsy driving prevention efforts, and establishing a routine that fights fatigue and supports a healthy sleep lifestyle.”

While the dangers of drinking and driving are widely recognized, drowsy driving is a less known peril with parallel risks. Cognitive impairment after approximately 18 hours awake is similar to that of someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent. Cognitive impairment after 24 hours awake is equivalent to a BAC of 0.10 percent, which is higher than the legal limit in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health .

Data shows that more and more Americans are driving while sleep deprived.

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