WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- To bring heightened awareness to the perils of driving while sleep deprived, the National Sleep Foundation declares November 5-12 as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week ®. The Foundation's annual outreach effort aims to reduce the number of drivers who drive sleep deprived. Drowsy driving causes more than 6,400 U.S. deaths annually.
A new poll commissioned by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) shows that a total of 97% of those polled see drowsy driving as a threat to safety, with more than 68% considering it to be a major threat. Three in 10 Americans did not know how many hours they could be continuously awake and still drive safely. These findings highlight the need for public education on how to assess one's alertness and risk of driving while drowsy.
Last year, the NSF's Drowsy Driving Consensus Panel issued a report finding that individuals continuously awake for 22 hours or more were too sleep deprived to drive safely. The panel also found that otherwise healthy drivers would likely be impaired at continuous awake times between 19 and 21 hours. Notably, preliminary data from NSF's most recent poll suggest that a portion of the public may have an even lower tolerance (16 – 20 hours) for prolonged wakefulness as it relates to safe driving.
"More than 6,400 U.S. deaths and more than 50,000 serious injuries occur every year as a result of drowsy drivers," David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation said. "Drivers need to know that prolonged wake periods, i.e. very long days, render us unfit to drive."
The week-long campaign provides valuable information about the benefits of optimal sleep and how sleep impacts health and safety. Shareable messages include an infographic, prewritten content, and social media posts using the hashtag #AlertAtTheWheel.
NSF's Drowsy Driving Consensus Panel findings were published in the Sleep Health journal, and have been endorsed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the American College of Chest Physicians, The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is dedicated to improving health and well-being through sleep education and advocacy. Founded in 1990, the NSF is committed to advancing excellence in sleep health theory, research and practice.
SOURCE National Sleep Foundation