Stay Alert and Stay Alive: Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

Stay Alert & Stay Alive

Daylight Saving Time ended on November 1, 2020, and in response to the clock adjustment, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) issued a press release reminding the general public that the time change could cause a disruption in sleep patterns, which could then affect drivers’ ability to concentrate and operate a motor vehicle safely.  The CHP is working in conjunction with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), and the National Sleep Foundation to call attention to the life-threatening dangers associated with fatigued driving.  The initiative is entitled Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, and it runs through November 8, 2020.  The purpose of the campaign is to encourage Californians to stay alert and stay alive. The State of California averages 6,000 car crashes per year that can be attributed to drowsy driving, and this is one of the ways in which state safety agencies are seeking to reduce that number.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveal that each year in the United States, approximately 100,000 police-reported car accidents cite drowsy driving as a factor.  More than 1,550 such incidents result in fatalities.

Fatigue Causes Impairment

Keeping alert while driving extends beyond the avoidance of distractions, according to the CHP Commissioner.  Drowsy driving is a key contributor to driver inattention.  The Commissioner pointed out that driving while fatigued can cause impairment, similar to that of drugs or alcohol.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that being awake for 18 consecutive hours or longer is equivalent to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05 percent.  

The various agencies that are working together on this project present the following tips to avoid drowsy driving:

  • If you feel sleepy, do not drive.  You should not limit yourself to the question, “am I okay to drive?” after a glass of wine – also ask yourself that question if you have not had enough rest.  
  • Caltrans seeks to remind motorists that it operates more than 85 Safety Roadside Rest Areas throughout California.  Each such rest area provides a safe and convenient stop to rest and rejuvenate before returning to your road trip.  Rest area locations can be viewed on QuickMap.
  • Leading up to a road trip, aim to get at least seven hours of sleep per night.
  • Stick to a regular sleep routine and schedule.
  • Avoid medications that cause drowsiness before driving.
  • While caffeinated beverages can cause a short-term increase in alertness, they are not a substitute for adequate sleep.

Staying alert and driving without distractions protects not only yourself but also your passengers and other drivers on the road.

Changing the clock presents a risk of driver fatigue.  The CHP tries to stay on top of this issue via public awareness.  Watch the YouTube video reporting on a prior CHP warning.

Rancho Cordova Wrongful Death Lawyer

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog.  I’m Ed Smith, a wrongful death lawyer in Rancho Cordova, California.  Whenever we suffer the loss of a loved one, the experience is devastatingly painful.  When that death has been caused by the negligence of another person or business, the grief can seem never-ending and senseless.  A car accident lawyer with experience in wrongful death cases can help ease some of your burdens.  For compassionate, free, and friendly advice, reach out to our case managers and injury attorneys, available by phone at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.  Our website also includes an option to contact us online.

I have worked on behalf of grieving Rancho Cordova families impacted by wrongful death incidents for close to 40 years.  To look over some of the reviews written by my prior clients, please follow the links provided below:

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