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More accidents on America’s roads are attributed to sleepiness than any other cause, including alcohol abuse. Millions of people suffering from sleep disorders take to the road every day which often becomes a life-threatening risk.
Drivers with untreated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, are one of the most dangerous threats out on our roads.
- Driver fatigue is responsible for an estimated 100,000 motor vehicle accidents and 1,500 deaths each year.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates the cost of drowsy driving is $12.4 billion per year.
- Drivers suffering from untreated sleep apnea are at 6 times the risk for motor vehicle accidents.
- Situational Performance (SA) of a person with untreated sleep apnea is similar to that of a person with a .06 – .08 Blood Alcohol Content level.
- Over 28% of truck drivers have sleep apnea.
- 71% of a trucking company’s injury/fatal crash costs are attributed to drivers with untreated sleep apnea.
Risk Factors for Drowsy Driving
- Driving tired
- Driving long distances without rest
- Driving at night
- Alcohol consumption or medication use
- Driving alone
- Driving on long, monotonous roads
At-risk Groups for Drowsy Driving
- Professional truck drivers
- People with untreated / undiagnosed sleep disorders
- Shift workers
- Teenage drivers
Signs of Drowsy Driving
- Eyes close or vision goes out of focus
- Difficulty keeping head up; head is drooping
- Constant yawning
- Driver does not remember driving the last few miles
- Constantly pulling the car back into the lane
- Car goes out of the lane and almost off the road completely
Preventive Measures Against Drowsy Driving
- The front seat passenger should also stay awake
- Take a break from driving every 2 hours or so (100-150 miles)
- Drink a caffeinated beverage (short term improvement)
- Alcohol and driving NEVER go together. Never drink and drive!
- Talk with passengers
- Avoid driving against the body clock
- Get plenty of sleep before driving