Press Release-11-4-2022

DMV news


Friday, November 4, 2022



Daylight Saving Time Changes Increase Chances of Driver Fatigue and Drowsiness

Statewide Partnership Will Promote “Stay Awake! Stay Alive!” Message
During Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

The New York State Partnership Against Drowsy Driving (NYPDD) today reminded motorists to be aware of the dangers of drowsy driving as the end of Daylight Saving Time approaches. Despite the additional hour gained in the time change, it can disrupt sleep patterns, causing people to feel drowsy.

Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 6. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) uses the occasion to begin its Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, November 6 to 13.

“Drowsiness and fatigue are contributing factors in thousands of crashes every year on our highways and cause far too many preventable deaths and injuries,” said Mark J.F. Schroeder, NYS Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC). “All motorists should be alert to the warning signs of drowsiness, particularly as we adjust to standard time, and take the appropriate steps to ensure that they never drive while drowsy.”

“Drowsy driving is dangerous even if drivers don't really nod off while driving because excessive tiredness has been shown to impair judgment and cause poor reaction times,” NYS Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “I urge all motorists to be aware of the warning signs of drowsiness, especially as we transition to daylight saving time.”

“The time change can impact routines and sleep schedules, so it’s important to ensure that drivers are aware of the warning signs of drowsy driving,” NYS Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said. “If you feel tired, wait until you are rested to drive. If you are on the road and feel drowsy, find a safe place such as a Thruway Service Area, parking area or Text Stop to pull over and take a break. It’s every driver’s responsibility to make safety a priority.”

NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “Safety on our roads is everyone’s responsibility, which is why every motorist needs to be conscious of the effects of Daylight Saving Time changes. Drowsy driving can easily result in a tragedy. If you sense that you are feeling less alert, it is imperative to pull over safely.  Do not take any risks with your safety, or the safety of others who share the road.”

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli said, “Drowsy driving causes thousands of injuries and deaths each year. As daylight savings comes to an end, it is important to become familiar with the signs of fatigue. Few people recognize these symptoms and the dangers associated while operating a motor vehicle.  Alert, attentive, and responsible driving is key to avoiding crashes and the New York State Police asks all motorists to make responsible decisions before operating their vehicles.”

In 2021, according to preliminary statistics from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR) at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College, “fatigue/drowsy driving” and/or “driver fell asleep” were listed 4,865 times as contributing factors on police crash reports in New York State. So far in 2022, according to preliminary figures from ITSMR, those same factors have been listed 2,466 times on police crash reports from across the state.

In 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 633 fatalities from drowsy-driving-related crashes in the U.S. NHTSA also estimated that, in 2017, drowsy driving contributed to 91,000 police-reported crashes and nearly 800 deaths nationwide.

To raise awareness of the dangers of driving while drowsy or fatigued, the NYPDD is promoting a “Stay Awake! Stay Alive!” message during Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. Member agencies will also promote the safety message through social media and newsletters.

The NYPDD also cautions that 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. It can take a half hour to feel the effects of caffeine and that provides only a short-term increase in driver alertness. The safest thing to do when drivers experience drowsiness is to pull over and find a safe place to sleep.

NYPDD engages college campuses statewide in drowsy driving injury prevention programs, including awareness, education and outreach focused on the importance of sleep. Last year, NYS Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) partnered with the NYPDD to sponsor a “Stay Awake! Stay Alive! Public Service Announcement (PSA) Challenge” for students at 12 SUNY campuses to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while drowsy.

The three winning PSAs were aired on social media, Thruway Service Areas and at DMV offices throughout the state, and the students who produced those videos won cash awards. The winners and honorable mentions can be viewed on YouTube. NYS SADD and NYPDD and will sponsor another PSA challenge for students in the spring of 2023 at the same 12 SUNY campuses plus three additional campuses. Additional details, including the additional three campuses, will be announced later.

While anyone can be at risk for drowsy driving, some groups have been identified as most vulnerable, including 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; young and newer drivers; and college and high school students.

The warning signs of drowsy driving include: repeated yawning; struggling to keep one’s eyes open and focused; forgetting the last few miles driven; tailgating or missing traffic signals; and swerving or drifting between lanes of traffic.

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.

For more information about the dangers of drowsy driving and strategies to avoid it, visit the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Drowsy Driving Awareness webpage, the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook School of Health Technology & Management’s educational and interactive website,, the National Sleep Foundation’s Tips for Staying Alert and Preventing Drowsy Driving, DOH’s website and NHTSA’s research on drowsy driving.

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, State Police, NYS Association of Chiefs of Police, Trucking Association of New York, AAA Hudson Valley, NYS Association of Traffic Safety Boards, NYS Sheriffs’ Association, NYS SADD and SUNY Stony Brook.