The end of Daylight Saving Time over the past weekend, with darkness falling an hour earlier, may find some drivers struggling to stay alert. The California Highway Patrol (CHP), Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) are partnering to promote Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, Nov. 3 through 10, to remind people of the dangers of drowsy driving at any time of year.
“Drowsy drivers put themselves and others at risk through a slower reaction time and the inability to pay attention,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “A sleepy driver can be just as impaired or dangerous as one under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”
Data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System showed an average of almost 7,000 collisions involving sleepy or fatigued drivers in each of the last three years. Those collisions resulted in the deaths of 73 people in California in 2016, 47 people in 2017, and 47 in 2018.
“Driving when you are tired is risky and dangerous,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “The last thing you want to do is doze off behind the wheel. It is important that we all act responsibly and get enough rest before driving.”
Reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that getting enough sleep on a daily basis is the only true way to protect against drowsy driving.
“In a state the size of California, long drives between cities are common. Without enough rest, all of us may feel drowsy behind the wheel,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “We encourage drivers to stop at one of our 86 rest areas to stretch their legs or get a few minutes of shut-eye.”
To find a rest area or to check for the latest travel information on state highways, visit http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/.