Press Release - 03-11-2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 11, 2022
NEW YORK STATE WARNS OF DROWSY DRIVING RISK AS DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME BEGINS
Daylight Saving Time Increases Chances of Driver Fatigue and Drowsiness
New York State Partnership Against Drowsy Driving Will Promote “Stay Awake, Stay Alive” Message
NYPDD Launches Contest Among College Students to Raise Awareness about Risks of Drowsy Driving and Showcases Student PSAs
The New York State Partnership Against Drowsy Driving (NYPDD) today warned motorists of the dangers of drowsy driving as Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 13, 2022, at 2 a.m. The partnership is promoting a "Stay Awake! Stay Alive!" message before and after the time change as a reminder that drivers should be vigilant.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 24 hours without sleep has similar effects on driving ability as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10 percent. GHSA also estimates that drowsy driving is a contributing factor in 328,000 crashes nationwide annually, and more than half of them involve drivers 25-years-old and younger.
In New York, drowsy driving was listed as a contributing factor on 4,854 police crash reports statewide last year according to preliminary data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR). Of those, 11 crashes resulted in at least one fatality and 1,745 crashes resulted in injuries.
College students are among the most at risk for drowsy driving. Building on the State’s ongoing efforts to educate young New Yorkers about the dangers of drowsy driving, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and the New York State Department of Health will team up with Monroe Community College, Queensborough Community College and Orange County Community College to hold “Stay Awake! Stay Alive!” events in the spring. Each year the Partnership focuses their outreach efforts on colleges with younger drivers and where statewide crash data reflects a higher incidence of crashes in which the driver fell asleep or drowsiness or fatigue were reported as a contributing factors. These events will include sleep experts from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook, and Jennifer Pearce, a victim advocate who lost her sister in a 2008 drowsy driving-related crash.
The NYPDD and NY Students Against Destructive Decisions (NY SADD) are again sponsoring a “Stay Awake! Stay Alive!” Public Service Announcement (PSA) Challenge for students at those three colleges and the nine other SUNY schools that previously participated in “Stay Awake! Stay Alive!” events. Participants will create a 25-second video to raise awareness about drowsy driving, vying for cash awards of $2,500, $1,500, or $1,000, respectively, for first-, second- and third-place. Additional details and a link to view previous winning PSAs can be found here.
The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) and the New York State Thruway Authority will also help raise awareness about the dangers of drowsy driving. During a 4-day campaign that begins Friday, March 11, variable message signs along major roadways will tell motorists to “STAY AWAKE, STAY ALIVE.”
Besides college students, other groups identified as most at risk of driving while drowsy include commercial drivers, particularly tractor trailer, tour bus and public transit drivers; people who work long hours or late-night shifts; people with sleep disorders; new parents or caregivers of infants and young children; high school students; and young and newer drivers.
Effects of Driving Drowsy and Prevention
Sleepiness can slow a driver’s reaction time, impair vision and judgment, and delay the processing of information, increasing the odds of a crash. Motorists should get adequate sleep before driving, take a break about every 100 miles or every two hours, and bring a passenger to help keep them awake and share the driving. Do not drink alcohol before driving, and always be aware of the potential side effects of any medications.
Common strategies to avoid drowsiness, such as opening a window, turning on air conditioning or playing loud music should not be relied upon to overcome fatigue. The safest thing to do when experiencing drowsiness while driving is to pull over and find a safe place to sleep.
For more information about the dangers of drowsy driving and strategies to avoid it, visit the GTSC’s Drowsy Driving Awareness webpage, the SUNY Stony Brook School of Health Technology & Management’s educational and interactive website, StopDrowsyDriving.org, the National Sleep Foundation’s Facts About Drowsy Driving, DOH’s website and NHTSA’s research on drowsy driving.
“Just like texting while driving or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving when you are tired can have dangerous consequences,” said NYS Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder. “It takes all of us to keep our roads safe, so I encourage everyone to make sure they are adequately rested before getting behind the wheel, and any time you feel drowsy while driving, you should find a safe place to pull over and rest.”
"Drowsy driving is dangerous even if motorists don’t actually fall asleep, as research has shown that when a person is drowsy their reaction times are slow and judgment is impaired. I urge all drivers to be aware of the warning signs of drowsiness, particularly as we adjust to daylight saving time, and to never get behind the wheel when feeling tired or sleep deprived," said New York State Health (DOH) Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett.
“Safety is our top priority and we urge all motorists to be aware of the dangers of driving if they are experiencing drowsiness or fatigue,” Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said. “Drowsy driving is as dangerous as driving impaired or distracted. If you are feeling tired and are not alert, wait until you’re rested before getting behind the wheel. Making safe decisions can save lives.”
State Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “As the weather gets warmer and the sun shines brighter and longer, it’s time to move the clocks ahead again. As nice as it will be to have more daylight in the evenings, it can also be disruptive to routines and sleep schedules. It is imperative for motorists to be aware of the warning signs of drowsy driving. If you feel yourself getting drowsy, please pull over safely. Hold yourself accountable - safety is every driver’s responsibility.”
New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, “Drowsy driving causes thousands of injuries and deaths each year. A drowsy driver can be every bit as dangerous as a driver who is speeding, distracted, or driving while impaired. Unfortunately, few people recognize the dangers of operating a motor vehicle while fatigued or sleep deprived. The New York State Police asks all motorists to acknowledge the symptoms of fatigue and make responsible decisions before operating their vehicles.”
Lisa Endee, Clinical Associate Professor at Stony Brook University, said, “Young adults and college students are an at-risk population for drowsy driving, yet a great many do not perceive it as a danger relevant to them. We hope to change that perception, adding DROWSY as the fourth ‘D’ in the dangerous driving behaviors along with drunk, drugged, and distracted.”
About the NYPDD
Established in 2004, the NYPDD seeks to educate the public and high-risk groups about the dangers of drowsy driving and promote preventive strategies. Members include representatives from the GTSC, DOH, Thruway Authority, DOT, New York State Police, the NYS Association of Chiefs of Police, the Trucking Association of New York, AAA Hudson Valley, the NYS Association of Traffic Safety Boards, NYS Sheriffs’ Association, NYS SADD and SUNY Stony Brook.