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Thursday October 06, 2022 Salt Lake City, UT

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Highway Safety

Press Release

Protecting Utah

Drowsy Driving Awareness Week 2022

Monday August 22, 2022
Sleep smart, drive smart

The third full week in August has been designated as Drowsy Driving Awareness Week in Utah, so we’ll be sharing information about the dangers of drowsy driving and how everyone can help prevent episodes of it.

Click HERE for Utah drowsy driving data dashboards.


Drowsy Driving Can Have Deadly and Devastating Consequences

Sometimes we tell our “tired” selves when we are driving that “we can make it” or “push through” to our destination, but the fact is drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. That decision to drive when we shouldn’t can have lasting effects on many.

WHO

  • In 2021, male drivers were two times more likely to drive drowsy than female drivers. 
  • The chart below shows drowsy driver crashes by age group in Utah in 2021

Drivers under the age of 25 are involved in 42% of all drowsy driving crashes

WHAT

Driving while you’re sleepy.

You might not realize it, but it has similar effects to driving drunk.

Don’t endanger yourself, your passengers or others on the road. If you feel sleepy, get off the road.

In 2021, the majority of drowsy driving crashes were a result of the driver failing to keep in the proper lane.Staying awake for 18 hours is equal to being intoxicated 

Drowsy driving crashes by the top 10 driver contributing circumstances, Utah 2021

WHERE

Road trips and longer drives can lead to drowsy driving.

Many times, people try to just drive through to their final destination.

Drowsy driving crashes by county, Utah 2021

WHEN

  • Drowsy driving crashes spiked at 6 AM and again at 4 PM.
  • The chart below shows the drowsy driving crashes by month in Utah in 2021.

Drowsy driving crashes in Utah by time of day, 2021
Drowsy driving crashes in Utah by lighting condition, 2021

WHY

We aren’t getting enough sleep and that’s having negative effects on our lives – including our driving.

Poor quality sleep can affect all of us.  

There were 14 drowsy driving fatalities in Utah in 2021.

If you feel drowsy, pull over for a quick nap or switch drivers.

Those who average 6 hours of sleep or less are 3x more likely to crash.

WATCH: a story “I fell asleep at the wheel, and it resulted in the death of my sister Maddie”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 1/3 of U.S. adults report sleeping less than 7 hours a day – the optimal time needed for good health and well being (Liu et al., 2016). That means that nearly 83.6 million sleep-deprived people are in the workplace, at school and on the road.

 

HOW CAN YOU PREVENT DROWSY DRIVING

Recognize the signs – in yourself or, if you’re a passenger, in the driver.

Don’t hesitate to get involved – recommend stopping for a break or offering to drive if you’re awake and alert.

Help the driver recognize that he/she is tired and that drowsy driving is dangerous.

➤ Slower reaction times ➤ Impaired judgment ➤ Increased levels of risk taking ➤ More frequent blinking/eye closure ➤ De cits in cognitive performance ➤ Memory impairment Attention failure Loss of visual awareness

Before you hit the road – follow these steps to help avoid drowsy driving:

* Get enough sleep - most adults need 7-9 hours, teens need 8.5-9.5 to maintain proper alertness during the day * Schedule proper breaks, about every 100 miles or 2 hours during long trips * Arrange for a travel companion - someone to talk with and share the driving * Avoid alcohol or sedating medications - check your labels or ask your doctor

On the road – if you get sleepy, follow these tips to help keep you safe:

* Have caffeine & find a safe place to rest while waiting the 30 minutes or so for it to take effect. * Take a break every 2 hours or 100 miles * Take a nap - find a safe place to take a 15-20 minute nap. * Travel at times you are normally awake & stay overnight along the way if needed. * Stop driving - pull off at the next exit or rest area or find a safe place to stop for the night

SLEEP SMART. DRIVE SMART. ARRIVE ALIVE.

Infographic with tips to help improve your sleep

For more information about drowsy driving, visit

Drowsy Driving.org

Zero Fatalities Drowsy Driving

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MEDIA CONTACT

Hillary Koellner
Director of Public Affairs
Department of Public Safety
hmkoellner@utah.gov

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