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Thursday, November 10, 2016

10 links to drowsy driving accident stories you need to know about

Drowsy Driving
There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of these reports showing up in my newsfeed aggregators; I could report them all for dramatic effect, but I think readers are smart enough to "get the message" after checking out the 10 I offer today. ~ The Curator

Some of these stories may contain graphic content or disturbing images.

FHP: Driver in wrong-way crash near Disney's Animal Kingdom fell asleep while driving
From the article: "Hester-Villalobos, her husband, Jesse Villalobos, 37, and their 7-year-old son were injured. Eight others traveling on the Disney shuttle were injured... Hester-Villalobos' son told troopers the family had been at Disney all day and his mother fell asleep at the wheel of their Isuzu sport utility vehicle, FHP Sgt. Kim Montes said.... The boy told officials his mom then traveled onto the wrong side of the road and crashed into the bus, Montes said."

2. MAY 15 || KETV 7 OMAHA
Four members of Omaha family killed in rollover crash in Utah
From the article: "Four members of an Omaha family were killed in a rollover crash in Utah, about two hours south of Salt Lake City... A fifth member of the family is in critical condition. Among the dead is a 10-month-old child."

Police: Driver in Arizona-Mexico bus crash fell asleep
From the article: "The driver of a passenger bus that crashed south of the border in Sonora state with several Arizona passengers on board fell asleep at the wheel and will not face charges for the deadly wreck, according to investigators. Three passengers died in the rollover crash early Tuesday morning ...and a fourth passed away at a hospital, according to the Sonora state police."

Police: Teen driver crashes through used car lot after falling asleep at the wheel
From the article: "Five cars were totaled, and six more were damaged after an Indiana teen fell asleep behind the wheel and drifted into a used car lot, police said."

5. JULY 14 || FOX NEWS
Truck driver pleads guilty in crash that killed five nursing students
From the article: "A Louisiana truck driver charged in a fiery interstate crash in Georgia that killed five nursing students last year pleaded guilty Thursday to nine counts, including five counts of first-degree vehicular homicide... A judge sentenced 56-year-old John Wayne Johnson to five years in prison, plus five on probation. He would have faced up to 93 years if convicted at trial."

Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock involved in Portland car crash
From the article: "Modest Mouse lead singer Isaac Brock was cited for careless driving after he crashing into a pickup truck after falling asleep at the wheel in Portland, Oregon, according to police... The frontman reportedly told police he fell asleep at the wheel, but the police department closed the investigation with the citation."

Milton driver hauling methanol falls asleep, crashes, diesel tanks ignite
From the article: "When Davis fell asleep, the semi struck a crash attenuator and the concrete barrier wall, continuing east along the concrete barrier for approximately 550 feet before coming to a complete stop. At that point, the rig's diesel tanks ruptured and ignited, causing burn damage to the truck, trailer and highway... The tractor trailer sustained approximately $30,000 damage."

Police: Woman falls asleep at wheel, crashes car through playground
From the article: "Police say the wreck caused over $10,000 in damage to fencing, two jungle gyms, a pergola and landscaping... She's been cited for operating a motor vehicle negligently so as to put people in danger and a marked lanes violation."

LISTEN: Father's dying words saved mom in fiery crash (includes audeo)
From the article: "Vermont police believed the likeliest reason the car ran off the road was because [victim] Alexander [Romanow] nodded off at the wheel, and not because he suffered from a health condition such as a seizure, as the medical examiner reported Alexander’s organs to be in good health, [the victim's son] Chris said."

10. OCT 23 || 7 NEWS MIAMI
Police reveal truck driver who killed taxi patron was asleep at wheel (includes video)
From the article: "Months after a deadly crash claimed the life of a taxi passenger, police confirmed that the driver at fault had fallen asleep at the wheel."

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

10 links exploring time changes, drowsy driving & sleep deprivation

Check out these 10 great links to information about drowsy driving: who does it, how many of us do it, how to survive it, and much more. 

Stop Hitting Snooze On Drowsy Driving Awareness
From the article: "If your impulse is to say that this does not apply to you, ask yourself if you’ve ever felt your eyes closing or your head nodding while driving. Have you ever had to open the windows to keep yourself awake while driving? If the answers are “yes,” then you’ve driven drowsy, period."

Millions Fall Asleep Behind the Wheel According to National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Health Index™
From the article: "To reduce the 6,400 annual deaths attributed to drowsy driving, NSF is declaring November 6-13, 2016 to be Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® (DDPW). This annual campaign, which coincides with the end of daylight saving time, provides public education about the risks of driving while drowsy and ways to improve safety. "

6 tips for driving safely in the dark
From the article: "Daylight saving timewhether you're gaining an hour in the fall or losing one in the springthrows off the body's circadian rhythm. When your sleep cycle is disrupted, you're likely to become drowsy."

Can Your Driving Habits Survive The Fall Back To Standard Time?
From the article: "Researchers have found that people walking during rush hour in the first two to three weeks after the clocks were set back were more than three times as likely to be struck and killed by a vehicle than in the week before the time change."

AAA: End of Daylight Saving Time means increased danger for drivers
From the article: "According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, about a third (37%) of drivers’ report having fallen asleep behind the wheel at some point in their lives, and more than one in ten (11%) has fallen asleep behind the wheel in the past year, warns AAA.  With the end of Daylight Saving Time this weekend, motorists will now have fewer hours of sunlight as the clocks across the region turn back one hour."

Daylight Saving Time 2016 Ends: Dangers of Deer, Drowsy Drivers and Darkness
From the article: "National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research shows drowsy-driving crashes most frequently occur between midnight and 6 a.m., or in the late-afternoon—both times when there are dips in your circadian rhythm—that’s your internal human body clock."

The Drive: Get your sleep before you drive
From the article: "Halfway into her 45-minute drive, her eyes shut for only a few seconds. But that was long enough to send her Ford Taurus across the centerline on Hwy. 68 and into a drop-off on the opposite side of the highway."

8. NOV 7 ||
Motorists Reminded of Dangers of Drowsy Driving as Daylight Savings Time Ends
View the Video

Daylight Savings additional hour could be hurting your health and sleep pattern: Doctors say using that additional hour to catch up on sleep isn't a good idea
From the article: "Quality sleep is such a big problem in our country, there's a whole week dedicated to awareness for drowsy driving. That is this week and the problem most commonly impacts young men. It's important to get 7 hours of sleep a night, for adults, or the effects can be as dangerous as drunk driving."

Ending Daylight Savings Time and its Effect on Sleep
From the article: "...only a minority of people get that hour extra of sleep. Many people can’t or don’t sleep that extra hour due to their circadian rhythms or sleep habits. If they don’t sleep that extra hour, they wake an hour earlier than usual."

Monday, November 7, 2016

Spotlight: Drowsy Driving Prevention Week and the time change

This week is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. Not coincidentally, it falls on the week following the time change from Daylight Saving(s) Time to Standard Time. 

Why not coincidentally? 

Though you might think gaining an hour of sleep will "catch you up" on your sleep deprivation, it's not likely to happen. 

In fact, that extra hour of sleep might actually make you feel worse, especially today (Monday). 

When time shifts like these occur, they disrupt ingrained circadian rhythms and, while initially, you might enjoy that added hour of snoozing on Sunday morning, you are actually going to need a few more days to reset your circadian rhythms to the new time schedule (unless, of course, you don't have to get up at a certain time of day and normally sleep until you are awake). 

For most people, getting up in the morning before they are ready--especially on Monday morning, when they've experienced the start of a "mini reset" already--amounts to grumpiness, feeling out of sorts, daytime drowsiness, slower physical performance... all the trappings of sleep deprivation. 

Hence the concern about drowsy driving. On my way to the airport this morning, I learned that a semi truck had collided with a light pole in a major commuter's intersection. In Seattle, the traffic is normally pretty bad, and with ongoing construction along the waterfront (which currently hosts a major throughway, the Alaskan Way Viaduct), an additional obstacle to commuter hour is going to have major consequences. 

It's not clear yet what caused the collision, but it happened 5 hours ago and I think the northbound highways are still at a standstill. Since the accident occurred at 5am, drowsy driving cannot be ruled out. (Let's hope, whatever happened, the driver was safe and nobody was hurt.) 

I read daily news about sleep health and it is bewildering the numbers of reports of drowsy driving accidents: in the city or the countryside; involving semi trucks or buses or trains or planes or ferries; in wealthy countries and more humble ones. 

The last report I ran on drowsy driving occurred in mid-May of this year: I cited at least 34 drowsy driving-related accidents reported over 26 days, taking place in 19 US states and in 6 countries. 

That's more than one a day, every day, and I'm not counting the many drowsy driving accidents that either go unreported (because no one could confirm it happened, though the evidence can show otherwise) or are reported as driving under the influence or some other designation, burying the violation so that it's not measurable. 

In addition, how many drowsy driving accidents are the result of hit-and-run driving, or lead to accidents that are never reported because nobody was injured or property wasn't damaged? You can bet that the incidence of collisions caused by drowsy driving runs far higher than accident reports can convey. 

This week I'll be posting a daily handful of links related to drowsy driving and its relationship to the circadian rhythm disruption and potential sleep deprivation caused by Daylight Saving(s) Time. Stay tuned for now... in the meantime, get your sleep tonight and be careful on the road, for your sake, and for the sake of everyone and everything around you. 

~ The Curator