TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Have you ever pulled an “all-nighter” cramming for a test, had a neighbor’s barking dog keep you up all night or pulled a double shift at work? Each of us has likely encountered situations similar to these and found it difficult to stay awake the next day. Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while fatigued and drowsy can have dangerous, and sometimes deadly, consequences.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, each year drowsy driving crashes result in at least 1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries. Similar to drunk and drugged driving, sleep loss or fatigue slows reaction time, makes drivers less attentive and impairs decision-making skills.
The Florida Legislature designated the first week of September each year as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week to educate the public on the dangers of driving while drowsy and to honor the memory of 8-year-old Ronshay Dugans. Ronshay was killed in 2008 when her school bus was hit by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel.
“A drowsy driver can be as dangerous on the road as a drunk driver,” said Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Director Julie L. Jones. “Before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, be sure you are well rested or have another licensed driver with you who can take over if you become too tired to drive safely.”
Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad said, “Keeping motorist safe on our roadways is our top priority at the Florida Department of Transportation. We encourage drivers to be fully alert and never drive drowsy.”
For more information, including warning signs that a driver needs to pull over and rest, visit http://drowsydriving.org.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov.