The California Highway Patrol joins the National Sleep Foundation to promote Drowsy Driving Prevention Week November 5-12 and increase awareness of the dangers associated with the deadly driving behavior.
This year, Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 5. Every year, the time change disrupts sleep patterns and may result in sleep-deprived drivers struggling with concentration behind the wheel.
California has experienced an increase in collisions involving sleepy or fatigued drivers over the last three years.
In 2014, there were 4,693 collisions involving sleepy or fatigued drivers. The number increased to 5,810 in 2015, and to 6,930 in 2016. Over the same time span, those collisions resulted in the deaths of 44 people in 2014, 43 people in 2015, and 47 in 2016.
“Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence,” CHP Acting Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “Drowsiness impairs judgment, performance, and reaction time just like alcohol and drugs. Getting enough rest every day will be your best defense in reducing your chances of being involved in a collision.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports studies that show how going too long without sleep can impair a driver’s ability the same way as drinking too much alcohol.
Being awake for at least 18 hours is the same as someone having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 percent.
Being awake for at least 24 hours is equal to having a BAC of 0.10 percent. This is higher than the legal limit of 0.08 percent BAC.
If you notice signs of fatigue, such as heavy eyelids or bobbing your head, exit the freeway, pull off the road, find a safe place to park, and take a 20-minute nap. Drinking a caffeinated beverage may help you stay alert, but DO NOT rely on it for long periods of time.
If you are driving with someone else in the car, take turns driving to allow the driver to rest.
These simple precautions will help lower your risk of being involved in a traffic collision, an injury, or death.