Fatigue is impairment just as real and just as dangerous as intoxication according to a recent ABC news report. Drowsy driving accounts for 100,000 accidents each year. Driver fatigue in the trucking industry is a well-known and highly-publicized issue. In a study on sleep deprivation compared to alcohol impairment, researchers found that being awake for:
19 hours was comparable to a blood alcohol content of .05%.
24 hours was comparable to a blood alcohol content of .10%.
Reducing fatigue related accidents is on the National Transportation Safety Board’s 2016 Most Wanted List. The agency says that fatigue was a factor in nearly 20% of its major investigations completed between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2012. The Institute of Medicine (IOM), reports that nearly 20% of serious car crashes in the general population involve driver sleepiness. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in December, 2015 issued a final rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELD) in commercial vehicles, to replace paper logs in an attempt to track driving times. In a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of respondents admitted to driving while feeling sleepy and 37% said they had fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. Signs that you are too tired to drive, and need to pull over and rest includes:
- Feeling restless and irritable
- Being able to remember the last few miles you’ve driven
- Missing exits or turns
- Frequent blinking
- Frequent rubbing of your eyes
- Repeatedly yawning