Public safety is paramount for our highways, train lines, and skies. In today’s 24/7 society, there are a multitude of things to distract us from what is truly important – keeping focus on getting to our destination safely. Drivers, operators, and pilots are assaulted by numerous interruptions.
Although every distraction is dangerous, a highly pervasive threat to public safety is drowsy driving. Driving while drowsy can have the same consequences as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drowsiness can impair the ability to drive safely, even if the driver does not fall asleep. Drowsy driving usually occurs at high speeds, making it difficult to avoid a crash. A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study showed that 7 percent of all crashes and 16.5 percent of fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver. This estimate suggests that approximately 6,000 people died in drowsy driving related motor vehicle crashes across the United States last year.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) would like to provide our members with information on public safety. Please feel free to share this information with your colleagues, legislators, federal and state agencies, as well as other transportation stakeholders.