Assemblywoman Galef, NYS Assembly Memorialize Governor Cuomo to Proclaim Drowsy Driving Prevention Week
Ossining – Assemblywoman Sandy Galef today asks her constituents to join her in observing November 5-11, 2017 as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week in the State of New York, in conjunction with the observance of National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.
Fatigued drivers are a serious problem in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that yearly, 100,000 crashes are the direct result of drowsy drivers, causing 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. However, due to difficulty testing for fatigue, and drivers who are unwilling to admit to being exhausted behind the wheel, these numbers may be understated. Teenagers, late night workers with irregular shifts, and people with sleep conditions such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy are most likely to be drowsy drivers.
There are currently only two states, New Jersey and Arkansas, which have laws addressing drowsy drivers who cause harm to or kill people. In the United States, 37% of adult drivers have said they have fallen asleep at the wheel.
“Drowsy driving is a serious problem on our roads and highways,” said Assemblywoman Sandy Galef. “We have suffered too many losses due to driver fatigue, including people in my district. Without laws in place to address drowsy drivers, it is up to us to take responsibility to drive safely. Before getting in the car for a trip – long or short – it is important to get a good night’s sleep, and plan to take on long trips with a companion, with scheduled stops, and without alcohol or drugs that might make you sleepy. Fatigued driving accidents are preventable, and, for the sake of ourselves and our neighbors, we must be the best drivers possible.”
“Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk, drugged, or distracted driving and it presents a real-time danger to motorists on New York’s roadways, so take a break if you are tired,” said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan. “Recognizing the warning signs of drowsy driving –repeated yawning, struggling to keep your eyes open, forgetting the last few miles driven, and tailgating or missing traffic signals – could save your life and the life of a passenger, pedestrian, or fellow driver.”
“Drowsy driving is an oft-ignored menace. Drivers who don’t get enough sleep put themselves and other road users at risk,” said John Corlett, Director of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Northeast. “Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that a driver who has slept for less than five hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk. Unfortunately, while nearly everybody knows this behavior is unacceptable, too many still do it: according to the AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index, 96% of drivers say that driving when they’re having trouble keeping their eyes open is unacceptable behavior, yet 29% admit to doing so. Particularly when the clocks change, drivers should remember to pay attention to their sleep schedules and take regular breaks during road trips.
“When you get behind the wheel of a car without proper sleep, you put yourself and everyone else on the road at risk”, said Dr. Benjamin Gerson of the National Sleep Foundation. “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week was created as an outreach effort to mitigate this problem and we applaud Assembly Woman Galef for drawing attention to this important issue.”