Drowsy driving is a serious problem in Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States. According to CNN, drowsy driving accounts for 20% of motor vehicle accidents, 25% of fatal crashes, 1,500 deaths and 40,000 injuries. In fact, staying awake for 20 hours or more may cause impairment similar to having a blood alcohol content level of 0.08%. One doctor explained that at this point, data processing and reflex speeds slow tremendously, just as when a person becomes drunk.
Drivers tend to become drowsy at the wheel if they get less than six hours of sleep per night, or if they snore. People who unintentionally doze off at their desk or during other activities during the day are also more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel. One of the common misconceptions is that truck drivers tend to be sleepier at the wheel than anyone else, but CNN says this is false. Still, truck accidents tend to cause the most damage to property and person when they drive drowsy.
Because of this, most of the attention is on truck drivers when it comes to preventing drowsy driving. According to ABC News, it really does not help that truck drivers face a lot of pressure to deliver their loads on time. This discourages them from pulling over to take a well-needed nap, often believing they can pull through if they force themselves to stay awake. The results of this can be catastrophic.
Experts say even pulling over for a ten-minute nap can temporarily restore drivers and make them more alert. However, the more consecutive minutes or hours of sleep drivers get on a regular basis, the safer everyone else is on the road.