In honor of drowsy driving awareness week, which runs November 12-18, the personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin would like to share some important safety information about driving without being sufficiently rested.
In a 2007 report on the dangers of drowsy driving, Dr. Charles Czeisler, a sleep researcher at Harvard, explained how a person driving after being up for 18 straight hours has the same impairment level as a drunk driver Dr. Czeisler and other members of the National Sleep Foundation also noted that there are three leading at-risk groups for drowsy driving crashes: college students; truckers or professional drivers; and medical residents and interns.
When the report was first released, some questioned its necessity—weren’t the findings obvious? Perhaps they might seem that way, and yet countless professionals are encouraged to circumvent mandatory rest period legislation, essentially forcing them to “drive drowsy” and putting everyone with whom they share the road at risk of serious accidents.
While the risks associated with tired driving are always present, they are particularly pressing during the winter months when darkness falls in the early afternoon. All of a sudden, tired drivers who previously had daylight as a tool to mitigate sleepiness lose that crutch—and accident rates increase markedly. It is for this reason that mid-November was selected as the time to observe drowsy driving awareness week—as the clock turns back, drivers should be certain to have an extra cup of coffee, turn the radio up and get enough rest to prevent the impairment of DWD—driving while drowsy.