National Sleep Foundation Launches Annual Drowsy Driving Prevention Week(R) to Prevent Fall-Asleep Crashes With Tips and Countermeasures
WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sleepiness is often overlooked as a major contributor to vehicle crashes. The National Sleep Foundation's 2009 Sleep in America poll shows that 1% or as many as 1.9 million drivers have had a car crash or a near miss due to drowsiness in the past year. Even more surprising, 54% of drivers (105 million) have driven while drowsy at least once in the past year, and 28% (54 million) do so at least once per month.
"People underestimate how tired they are and think that they can stay awake by sheer force of will," said Thomas Balkin, Ph.D., Chairman of the National Sleep Foundation. "This is a risky misconception. Would there be 1.9 million fatigue-related crashes or near misses if people were good at assessing their own ability to drive when fatigued?"
"The problem," says Balkin, "is that although we are pretty good at recognizing when we feel sleepy, we do not recognize the process of actually falling asleep as it is happening. The process robs us of both self-awareness and awareness of our environment. All it takes is a moment of reduced awareness to cause a crash."
Studies show that being awake for more than 20 hours results in an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, the legal limit in all states. Like alcohol, fatigue slows reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs judgment. But unlike an awake driver impaired by alcohol, a sleeping driver is unable to take any action to avoid a crash.
"Too many Americans are exhausted when they get behind the wheel, and they may not fully understand how dangerous it is to drive while drowsy," says David M. Cloud, the National Sleep Foundation's Chief Executive Officer. "The National Sleep Foundation recommends that drivers take practical measures when they feel that sleepiness is impairing their driving. Unfortunately, many drivers are misinformed on what to do in this situation. Understanding crucial warning signs and countermeasures is key to preventing fatigue-related crashes."
Feeling Sleepy? Stop driving if you exhibit these warning signs!
The following warning signs indicate that it's time to stop driving and find a safe place to pull over and address your condition:
Countermeasures - National Sleep Foundation's Tips for Drowsy-free Driving:
For more information about drowsy driving, visit www.sleepfoundation.org.
Drowsy Driving Prevention Week(R)
In an effort to reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes and to save lives, the National Sleep Foundation is declaring November 2-8, 2009 Drowsy Driving Prevention Week(R). This annual campaign provides public education about the under-reported risks of driving while drowsy and countermeasures to improve safety on the road.
About the National Sleep Foundation
The National Sleep Foundation is dedicated to improving sleep health and safety through education, public awareness, and advocacy. It is well-known for its annual Sleep in America poll. The Foundation is a charitable, educational and scientific not-for-profit organization located in Washington, DC. Its membership includes researchers and clinicians focused on sleep medicine, professionals in the health, medical and science fields, individuals, patients, people affected by drowsy driving and more than 900 healthcare facilities throughout North America. For more information about the National Sleep Foundation and a directory of its sleep center members, please visit www.sleepfoundation.org.
Sponsors for Drowsy Driving Prevention Week(R) 2009
Mercedes-Benz continues to be a leader in developing technologies to help keep drivers safe and alert. The ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness-detection system, an innovation released on the all-new 2010 E-Class sedan, is equipped with sophisticated sensors that monitor the driver's operation of the vehicle across 70 parameters that have proven to be strong indicators of alertness levels. Mercedes-Benz is a proud sponsor of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week(R) (Nov. 2-8). For more information, visit http://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/#/whatsnew/)
National Sleep Awareness Roundtable
The National Sleep Awareness Roundtable (NSART) is a national coalition of governmental, professional, voluntary, and other organizations whose mission is to raise awareness about the public health and safety impact of sleep deprivation and sleep disorders by improving communication and collaboration among local, state and federal agencies; professional organizations; and the public. For more information, visit www.NSART.org
SOURCE National Sleep Foundation
|SOURCE National Sleep Foundation|
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