Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed Nov. 5-12 as Drowsy Driving Awareness and Prevention Week, for the fifth consecutive year.
Nationwide, drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes a year with 40,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities. From 2011 through 2015, in Washington State, there were 64 fatal collisions and 308 serious injury collisions investigated where a drowsy driver was involved.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the top risk groups for drowsy driving are: Young people, especially men, 26 and younger; shift workers — working the night shift increases your risk by nearly six times; commercial drivers, especially long-haul drivers — at least 15 percent of all heavy truck crashes involve fatigue.
Drowsy driving is not only dangerous, it’s illegal. If you fall asleep at the wheel, you could receive a $550 fine for negligent driving.
“Drowsy drivers put everyone on the road in danger,” says Chief John. R. Batiste. “This form of impaired driving can be prevented by taking some easy, sensible steps before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.”
Some simple tips for staying awake behind the wheel include:
Get a good night’s sleep before hitting the road
Don’t be too rushed to arrive at your destination
Take a break every two hours or 100 miles to refresh
Use the buddy system to stay awake and share driving chores
Avoid alcohol, drugs, and medications that cause drowsiness as a side effect
Avoid driving when you would normally be sleeping
For more information about drowsy driving and how to prevent it, visit drowsydriving.org.