Drowsy Driving

The Sage Colleges in Partnership with the

NYS Governor's Traffic Safety Committee

Proudly Hosts Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Press Event

Sleep Loss a Possibility After Daylight Saving Time Ends

DMV Commissioner David Swarts, Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC), reminded motorists of the dangers of drowsy driving today at a press event hosted at The Sage Colleges’ Opalka Gallery to build awareness and prevention of the hazards of drowsy driving geared to the end of Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, November 7. 

"We at The Sage Colleges are honored to partner with the Governor's Office Traffic Safety Committee to help increase awareness about the hazards of drowsy driving," said Dr. Susan Scrimshaw, president of The Sage Colleges. "Students maintain active and busy lifestyles trying to balance school, activities, their studies, a social life - and often a job. We encourage our students to develop a healthy lifestyle which includes eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep. Drowsy driving is a serious threat to all of us that can be avoided simply by getting enough sleep - often a particular challenge for all college students. We feel it is imperative to encourage students to listen to their bodies and to schedule enough time for adequate sleep into their busy lives."

Terry Weiner, provost of The Sage Colleges cautioned that  driving overtired is a real issue especially since half the students on campus are commuters.  "There probably isn't a professor in the United States who hasn't had an 8 o'clock class where students weren't drowsy," he said. "This generation keeps their cell phone on all evening, even when they are sleeping, just in case there is a social event at 3 o'clock in the morning."  According to Weiner, students who exhibit signs of being overtired are often referred to the Wellness Center by professors. 

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading killer of young people ages 16-24, and fatigue is a common contributing factor.  In the National Sleep Foundation's 2009 "Sleep in America" poll, nearly a third of respondents admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel within the past year, and more than half admitted to driving while drowsy.  “Clearly college students represent a very risky population in respect to driving drowsy," Swarts said. "Often times those in the medical profession work odd hours and can drive drowsy. There are other individuals that are at risk like truck drivers who are on the road for long periods of time."

The warning signs of drowsy driving include difficulty in keeping one's eyes open, repeated yawning, wandering or disconnected thoughts, drifting from the driving lane and failure to remember the last few miles driven. Motorists should get adequate sleep before driving, take breaks about every 100 miles or two hours and bring a passenger to help keep them awake and share the driving responsibilities. Never drink alcohol before driving, and always be aware of the potential side effects of any medications.  Opening a window, turning on air conditioning or playing loud music should not be relied upon to overcome fatigue, and caffeine offers only a short-term increase in driver alertness. Drivers who experience drowsiness should pull over to find a safe place for a rest or to sleep for the night.

Driver safety tips and information are available by visiting the DMV's Web site at www.dmv.ny.gov or the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Web site at www.SafeNY.ny.gov.