HUNTSVILLE, Ala (WZDX) – A new study ranks Alabama as second in the nation for drowsy driving deaths. 43 sleep-related driving deaths happened in 2016, according to the study. With peak season for drowsy driving accidents right around the corner, state troopers are working to spread awareness, with hopes of putting an end to the deadly trend.
It’s spring, and Alabama roads and interstates are getting busier. As warmer temperatures increase, so do drowsy driving deaths, according to the new study.
“We’re a thoroughfare for people to get to the beaches and other vacation spots, so a lot of people drive through Alabama,” explained State Trooper Curtis Summerville, who says that driving long distances without getting enough sleep can be deadly.
“Driving requires 100% of your attention, and certainly if you are drowsy, your attention and focus is not there,” said Summerville. “Once your brain determines that you are asleep or not alert, at some point it’s going to no longer be your decision in terms of what you’re doing on the roadway.”
Deadly crashes related to drowsy driving tend to happen in the morning between 5 and 6 am as people are commuting to work and heading home from the nightshift. The study shows that crashes tend to be slightly more frequent on Sunday’s and Monday’s.
“Be vigilant,” said Summerville. “People think ‘I can make it, I can make it’. We beat ourselves up and let our windows down, but again, these are only temporary fixes.”
His advice for drivers? Get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel and be cautious and aware of what’s going on around you.