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FLHSMV Urges Drivers to Take a Break to Drive Awake

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September 5-11 is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week in Florida. ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) launched its annual Drowsy Driving Prevention Week campaign to educate the public regarding drowsy driving prevention on Florida’s roads. Each year, the first week of September is recognized in Florida as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week in honor of Ronshay Dugans, who was tragically killed by a drowsy driver in 2008.

“Drowsy driving poses more of a threat than most realize,” said FLHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “Missing just a couple hours of sleep can significantly increase a driver’s crash risk, putting the lives of those on our roadways in danger. No matter how far your destination may be, driving drowsy is never worth the risk.”

FLHSMV estimates that 3,991 reported crashes in Florida involved drowsy drivers last year.

“Whether you are driving a vehicle with two wheels or 18, driving while drowsy is a poor decision that can lead to deadly consequences,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “FHP strongly encourages all drivers to be alert when operating a motor vehicle and to take a break if they are having difficulty focusing, are yawning repeatedly, or are drifting into other lanes. Let’s all do our part to keep Florida roadways safe.”

Throughout the entire month of September, FLHSMV will be urging drivers to safely pull off the road and take a break if they are having difficulty focusing, yawning repeatedly, or drifting into other lanes. Fatigue slows thought processes and reaction time, affects judgement and vision, impairs the senses and abilities, and can cause micro-sleeping (“nodding off”) or falling completely asleep, making it very dangerous to drive.

Sleep loss or fatigue can cause symptoms similar to drunk and drugged driving. It is always important to rest before driving. FLHSMV offers the following additional measures you can take to prevent drowsy driving:

  • Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep. Get enough rest before you drive.
  • On long trips, take a break every 100 miles or two hours. Allow plenty of time to travel to your destination.
  • If you start feeling tired while driving, pull over in a safe place and take a nap if you can.
  • Use the “buddy system” and switch drivers when needed.
  • Read the warning information on all medications you take. Do not operate a motor vehicle after taking medications which cause drowsiness.