Drowsy Driver Awareness Day is observed on April 6 to shed light on the disastrous effects of drowsy driving. The study shows that there is a steep cognitive decline after 18 hours of staying up, which is almost tantamount to having alcohol in our systems. The day raises support to end the senseless loss of life through concrete measures such as educational seminars and public health appeals. Brought into existence by a grieving husband who lost his beloved wife to drowsy driving, the day honors the victims and raises awareness regarding the often understated impact of drowsy driving.
History of Drowsy Driver Awareness Day
There’s plenty of information and awareness regarding the impact of drunk driving, backed by scientific studies and statutory laws. Lest we forget that there’s another equally heinous but often dismissed kind of impaired driving that is a leading cause of road accidents — sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can seriously impair your cognitive skills. Research shows that staying awake past 24 hours is equivalent to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, which is considered legally drunk.
It is difficult to get the exact stats for drowsy driving-related accidents, as there is no quick way to determine the state of sleep deprivation. The National Sleep Foundation’s findings prove that more than 100,000 car crashes can be linked to drowsy driving. Whereas the American Automobile Association attributes more than 300,000 car crashes to drowsy drivers, of which 6,400 are fatal. Despite the seriousness of the issue, there are no federal/state laws around this impairment, except for a couple of shambolic laws in New Jersey and Alabama — and even these are vastly detached from the gravity of the issue.
The fall of 1999 changed the course of the life of Phil Konstantin when his wife lost control of the wheels due to falling asleep. Grieving and distraught, he took it upon himself to raise the issue, which is a cause of hundreds of deaths a year. In 2005, Konstantin dedicated April 6 as Drowsy Driver Awareness Day in memory of his wife and countless other victims.
Drowsy Driver Awareness Day timeline
The National Sleep Foundation is founded in the United States to advance the merits of sleep health theory.
California Highway Patrol Officer Phil Konstantin’s wife dies after a car crash caused by sleep deprivation.
New Jersey becomes the first state to enforce a law that punishes sleep-deprived drivers with a $100,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.
Konstantin establishes April 6 as Drowsy Driver Awareness Day.
Drowsy Driver Awareness Day FAQs
Where is Drowsy Drivers Awareness Day celebrated?
This day is celebrated only in California. This means that people in other states can start getting it legislated for their areas.
What is the best way to offset drowsiness while driving?
It is recommended to stop driving at the slightest hint of drowsiness. The next best thing is to pull an exit and rest for a while. It is recommended that you should take a two-hour break for every 100 miles driven.
Is it okay to drive on two hours of sleep?
Absolutely not! Driving on two hours of sleep is dangerous and can be catastrophic. The lack of sleep can cause cognitive skills impairments and hinder the driver’s judgment.
How to Observe Drowsy Driver Awareness Day
Sleep health is a crucial measure of overall health, and yet it is vastly understated and often ignored. On the contrary, today’s pop culture romanticizes shortened sleep durations with slogans like “cool kids don’t sleep.” On Drowsy Driver Awareness Day, educate yourself about the impact that sleep deprivation has on a person, which includes worsened cognitive performance and irritation.
Understand the gravitas
Mark this somber observation by raising awareness about the senseless violence induced by sleep deprivation. As per the data collected by the National Sleep Foundation, drowsy driving is responsible for over 100,000 car crashes every year. Whereas the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined the figure to be around 83,000/year.
Honor the victims
Drowsy Driver Awareness Day is a day to honor the victims of a car crash involving a drowsy driver. As per the collected data, car crashes due to sleep deprivation claims more lives than many other serious ailments. On April 6, we honor the victims with empathy and understanding, and take a pledge to drive with alertness and caution.
5 Chilling Stats About Drowsy Driving That’ll Make You Sit Up Straight
It’s an expensive affair
As per a 2016 report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, fatigue-related injuries cost society up to $109 billion a year.
Afternoons and midnight
The biggest surge in drowsy driving-related accidents occurs between 12 am to 6 a.m., and in the late afternoon.
In 2019, 1240 drivers who lost their lives in fatal crashes were reportedly sleep-deprived.
It’s a widespread phenomenon
Despite universal condemnation, more than 24% of routine drivers admitted to getting behind the wheel in a state of extreme fatigue in the last 30 days.
It’s a leading cause of injury
The crashes involving drowsy driving lead to more than 50,000 injuries in a year.
Why Drowsy Driver Awareness Day is Important
It honors the victims
It is difficult to sympathize with the victims when they, themselves, are responsible for the crash. By remembering their lives, we propagate the acute dangers of sleep deprivation and its impact on all of our lives.
It illuminates the crisis
While drunk driving is understandably shunned and penalized, drowsy driving slips under the radar. It is important to call out the bias and look at the root cause of senseless accidents by illuminating the crisis.
It prevents accidents
The Drowsy Driver Awareness Day creator issues regular P.S.A.s regarding the impact of drowsy driving. He believes that the condition is ‘insidious’ and can sneak up on the most law-abiding and honest citizens. Through this observation, we raise awareness about the harmful — and often fatal — results of their negligence.
Drowsy Driver Awareness Day dates