Highway Safety Office: Drowsy driving as dangerous as drunk driving
Posted By: Bayley Bischof Channel 8 Eyewitness News
We've all been there, feeling tired, trying to keep ourselves alert while driving.
We asked some of our viewers, what do you do?
"I drink energy drinks to stay awake."
"I drink coffee and energy drinks and stuff"
"I turn the wheel over to my wife"
The National Sleep Foundation says 60% of Americans have hit the road while dangerously drowsy.
The Nebraska Highway Safety Office wants Nebraskans to know driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving drunk.
"You're driving impaired, literally you fall asleep, you close your eyes, you're driving blind,” Fred Zwonechek with the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety said. “Even micro sleeps that we know exist where it's just a few seconds, but if you're going 60–70 miles an hour even for a few seconds you're traveling a long distance and all kinds of things can happen to you."
If you go 18 hours without sleep, that's an equivalent of a blood alcohol content of .05, 21 hours it's .08, that's the legal limit.
At 24 hours, your impairment is equivalent to a B.A.C. of .10.
"Over the last five years we've had 13 fatal collisions where we know falling asleep was a contributory factor and we know it's under reported," Zwonechek said.
But with a grant of $15,000, the Nebraska Highway Safety Office will be better equipped to stop drowsy driving.
"We were one of 5 states chosen to come up with new campaigns to raise awareness against drowsy driving,” Zwonechek said.
With the grant money, they’re starting to develop a campaign that they hope will make people think twice about getting behind the wheel tired.
He says it’ll launch in November.
If you do start to feel tired while you're driving, Zwonechek said drinking coffee or turning up the music will only help for a little while.
He said the best thing you can do is pull over and rest for about 20 minutes.