Tennessee Wins Grant to Combat Drowsy Driving
September 18th, 2017 by Attorney John Colvin
Tennessee is one of four states that won a federal grant to address the problem of drowsy driving. Along with Tennessee, the Governors Highway Safety Association and The National Road Safety Foundation selected Iowa, Maryland, and Nevada as the winners, from the 12 states that applied for funding.
Drowsy driving causes an estimated 328,000 crashes each year, according to the GHSA. And while many people might assume that drowsy driving is a problem only for long-haul truckers, the truth is all drivers – from teens to mature adults – have probably gotten behind the wheel when they’ve had too little sleep.
Reducing the incidence of drowsy driving crashes begins with getting people to recognize the effects of sleep deprivation. Too many people think that they can “get by” on too little sleep, but that’s simply untrue. Even with the stimulating effect of coffee, a sleep-deprived person will have impaired reaction time and judgment – both problems that could raise the risk of a crash.
What Tennessee is Doing
Each state that received the federal drowsy driving grant will focus on specific campaigns. The Tennessee Highway Safety Office is partnering with the state chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) to spur peer-to-peer conversations about drowsy driving. Some grant funds have been earmarked for trucking industry education, as well. The Tennessee Trucking Foundation will enlist the help of Tennessee’s Road Team Captains – truck drivers with excellent safety records – to raise awareness of the dangers of drowsy driving.
Sleep Deprivation and Teens
The need for sleep decreases with age. Newborns need 12 to 18 hours of sleep per day, while adults older than 65 need only 7 to 8 hours of sleep and may be able to get by on as few as 5 hours. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens (age 14 to 17) need 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night.
Many busy teens have schedules that prevent them from getting the sleep they need. With school, homework, extracurricular activities, and part-time jobs, teens may be sacrificing sleep to meet the demands of each day. And drowsiness is even more dangerous for new, inexperienced drivers. One study found that teens who are sleepy behind the wheel are twice as likely to have a crash, and another study found that early-morning school-start times increase the rate of car crashes among teens.
Tennesseans Getting Inadequate Sleep
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014, about 37 percent of adults in Tennessee reported usually sleeping less than 7 hours per night. The CDC refers to inadequate sleep as “short sleep.” Over time, short sleep increases the risk of arthritis, depression, diabetes, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other disorders. And the immediate effects of short sleep include confusion, agitation, inattention, and microsleep, which is a momentary episode of unconsciousness. Microsleep occurs when the brain hasn’t had adequate sleep and it essentially shuts down to recharge.
John R. Colvin, Attorney at Law, has successfully represented clients throughout Tennessee and Alabama who have been seriously hurt in crashes with drowsy drivers. He has also assisted families who have lost loved ones in drowsy driving crashes. For 20 years, he has been helping victims put their lives back on track, and he is ready to help you. For advice on how to proceed next or if you have any questions about this topic, call 1-931-962-1044 or submit this online form. Put his bold approach and client focus to work for you.