Daylight Saving Time and Drowsy Driving
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has recently issued a press release about the impact that daylight saving time can have on wakeful driving. On March 13, 2016, we’re switching to daylight saving time. The “spring forward” means most of us will be losing an hour of sleep before our early-morning commutes. Adjusting to the change can be difficult, especially for those that already work long hours and have busy schedules. Drowsy driving can impact anybody who isn’t well rested behind the wheel.
Fatigued Driving by The Numbers
- Last year in California, sleepy and fatigued drivers were involved in 5,447 collisions.
- 40 people died in collisions involving sleepy or fatigued drivers in California last year.
- The NHTSA conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year.
- These crashes result in an estimated 1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries.
- Crashes involving fatigued drivers cost an estimated $12.5 billion each year.
Drunk Driving Versus Drowsy Driving
Although most people know absolutely and without a doubt that drunk driving is incredibly dangerous, are drivers in California well informed about the dangers of driving while sleepy? According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) cognitive impairment after about 18 hours of wakefulness is similar to having a blood alcohol content of .05 percent. They’ve also found that after 24 hours of being awake, cognitive impairment is similar to that of a person who has a blood alcohol content of .10 percent, which is higher than the legal limit.
Drowsy Driving Crashes in California
Frighteningly, two out of every five drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at some point. Some research found that one in 10 drivers say they have done so in the past year, and more than a quarter of those surveyed said they kept driving even though they had trouble keeping their eyes open. CHP Commissioner Farrow is calling on drivers in California to stay alert and awake behind the wheel.