East Hawaii News

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Nov. 10-16

November 9, 2015, 11:31 AM HST
* Updated November 9, 11:33 AM
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The National Highway Safety Administration celebrates Nov. 10 through Nov. 16 as National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

National statistics from 2013 show that driving while drowsy was the cause of 72,000 crashes, 800 fatalities, and 44,000 injuries in the United States, while numbers from NHTSA show that drowsy driving crashes result in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary loses yearly.

In a national poll, 60 percent of drivers said they had driven while drowsy and 37 percent reported that they have nodded off while driving.

Lack of sleep can disrupt an individual’s biological clock and impair the ability to performing driving tasks. Data from NHTSA shows that fatigue hurts a driver’s reaction time, memory, communication, situational awareness, judgement, attention, and mood by 20 to 50 percent.

In addition, tired drivers may suffer from irritability, attention lapses, and micro naps.

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Those who operate a vehicle under the circumstances may have delayed reactions to stopping resulting in serious consequences.

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The Hawai’i Police Department reminds motorists that they should be adequately rested before getting into a vehicle and traveling Big Island roadways.

HPD offers the following suggestions from the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Get a good night’s sleep before a long drive (7-9 hours for adults and 8.5-9.5 hours for teens).
  • If you notice any warning signs of fatigue, find a safe place to get off the road and take a 15-20 minute nap.
  • Schedule proper breaks about every 100 miles.
  • Drive with a friend who will stay awake and watch for signs of fatigue.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Always wear your seat belt.

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