AAA, National Sleep Foundation team up to defeat drowsy driving

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Nov. 8, 2010—As part of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, Nov. 8-12, the National Sleep Foundation and AAA are publicizing the risks of drowsy driving.

Two out of five drivers admit to having fallen asleep while driving, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. And one in 10 drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. More than 25 percent of those surveyed by AAA admitted to driving despite being so tired that they had difficulty keeping their eyes open.

Of drivers surveyed, 85 percent said it was "completely unacceptable" for someone to drive if they were so tired that they couldn’t keep their eyes open. About 16.5 percent of deadly crashes, 12.5 percent of serious injury crashes and 7 percent of small crashes involve a drowsy driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

To avoid drowsiness, AAA suggests:
• Get at least six hours of sleep the night before a long trip;
• Schedule a break every 100 miles;
• Travel at hours when the driver is normally awake;
• Stop driving when drowsiness occurs.

"When you are behind the wheel of a car, being sleepy is very dangerous. Sleepiness decreases awareness, slows reaction time, and impairs judgment, just like drugs or alcohol, contributing to the possibility of a crash," said Peter Kissinger, AAA Foundation president and CEO. "We need to change the culture so that not only will drivers recognize the dangers of driving while drowsy but will stop doing it."

For more information on Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, go to aaafoundation.org.

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