With National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data showing that drowsy driving and fatigued driving are at the root of 100,000 reported crashes across the U.S., a New York traffic official recently highlighted what is at stake for local drivers.
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala says that fatigue and drowsiness contribute to thousands of New York car accidents every year. She warns drivers to be aware of their fatigue levels and not to drive if they are vulnerable to the distracted driving that fatigue can cause.
Drowsy Driving: A Serious Threat to Safety on the Road
Drowsy and fatigued driving cause 71,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths in the U.S. every year. They are also responsible for $1.25 billion in losses. People who are injured by negligent drivers may experience both financial losses and serious medical problems.
Drivers who are at a particularly high risk for drowsy driving include those who drive for a living, such as commercial truck drivers. Parents with young children, younger drivers, people who do shift work and those with untreated sleep disorders are also at risk.
Knowing the Signs: Awareness of Drowsy Driving
It is important for all drivers to be aware of the signs of drowsiness in order to prevent serious New York auto accidents. Yawning and having a hard time keeping one’s eyes open are signs of drowsiness, as are drifting into another lane and wandering thoughts. Forgetting the last few miles of driving can be a sign, too.
Although some drivers believe that a shot of caffeine, a blast of cold air or a dose of loud music will cure drowsiness, the only sure fix is sleep. New York drivers should take care to be vigilant and pull over when they start to feel fatigued.