Advertisement

The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Drowsy Driving on the Rise

December 2015, by Kat Sandoval - Also by this author

Fleet drivers are recommended to pull over, take a break or a power nap, if they have trouble focusing on the road. Photo via iStockphoto.com
Fleet drivers are recommended to pull over, take a break or a power nap, if they have trouble focusing on the road. Photo via iStockphoto.com

Drowsy driving is an increasing concern for today’s fleets, and can lead to drivers crashing and damaging a vehicle or worse, cause injuries to themselves and others. This safety concern now accounts for 100,000 automobile crashes per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

In addition, drowsy drivers are involved in an estimated 21 percent of fatal crashes, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

For that reason alone, it is important for fleet managers and drivers to know the signs, understand its cognitive effects, and apply safe driving habits to help eliminate driver drowsiness altogether.              

Know the Signs

There are common signs of drowsiness that drivers should be taught to watch for: excessive yawning or rubbing of eyes, feeling restless, drifting from lane to lane or hitting a shoulder rumble strip, trouble focusing, and daydreaming.

But, there are also many signs that aren’t as apparent.

For instance, driving alone or on a long, rural road can make fleet drivers feel drowsy and lose their focus. And, driving for extended periods of time without a break can be just as hazardous.

Even the daylight saving time change can factor into drivers experiencing fatigue or drowsiness.

“Not planning properly for the end of daylight saving time can also contribute to drowsy drivers,” said Melissa Vega, manager of driver services at the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Moreover, those who work more than 60 hours a week need to be especially careful because they increase their risks of getting into an accident by 40 percent, according to research conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).

Fleet drivers, who are regulated under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s Hours of Service regulations, which are designed to combat drowsiness and fatigue, are limited to 11 hours of driving after having 10 consecutive hours off duty.

Drowsy driving is comparable to driving under the influence, the fleet driver’s reaction time and information processing ability is compromised. Photo via CJ Pony Parts
Drowsy driving is comparable to driving under the influence, the fleet driver’s reaction time and information processing ability is compromised. Photo via CJ Pony Parts

The Effects of Drowsiness

Not noticing distance traveled or daydreaming are prime examples of the cognitive impact drowsy driving has on a fleet driver.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that driving while drowsy is comparable to driving under the influence. The effect of being awake for 18 hours straight is similar to that of someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent.

As with driving while impaired by alcohol, drowsiness makes drivers less attentive, slows reaction time, and affects their ability to make decisions (see infographic).

“If a fleet driver begins to feel drowsy, they should take a break every two hours or about every 100 miles and that break should be about 20-30 minutes,” said Vega.

Fleet managers can help drivers get the right amount of sleep by providing educational materials and statistics on the dangers of drowsy driving.

Among the means they can do this is company newsletters, e-mails, and the fleet’s or company’s Facebook page.

Twitter Facebook Google+

Comments

Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:
 
 

Fleet Incentives

Determine the actual cost of owning and running a vehicle in your fleet. Compare vehicles by class and model.

Sponsored by

E. Pierce Walsh was the director of fleet management for IC Industries, Inc. of Chicago during the 1980s.

Read more

Accident Costs Calculator

DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH REVENUE IT TAKES TO OFFSET FLEET ACCIDENT COSTS?
Use this calculator to see how much extra sales revenue your company needs to generate to make up for the profits lost as a result of fleet accidents.
Launch Accident Cost Calculator 

Up Next

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher