March 12, 2011

Motorists reminded of dangers of drowsy driving

Albany, N.Y. —

Officials from various state agencies and organizations concerned with traffic safety are reminding motorists of the dangers of drowsy driving. The annual public education and awareness campaign will coincide with the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, which begins Sunday, March 13.

“Recent studies show that driving while drowsy is a much more pervasive problem on our highways than we previously thought and is a contributing factor in thousands of preventable motor vehicle crashes each year,” said Department of Motor Vehicles Executive Deputy Commissioner J. David Sampson.

According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 Sleep in America poll, 43 percent of Americans ages 13 to 64 say they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep on weeknights, while 60 percent say that they experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night. Also, according to the poll, about two-thirds of Americans say they do not get enough sleep during the week.

The poll found that 95 percent of Americans use some type of electronics, such as a television, computer, video game or cell phone, at least a few nights a week within an hour of bedtime. Medical studies have shown that exposure to the artificial light created by such devices between dusk and bedtime suppresses the release of melatonin — a hormone that promotes sleep — as well as increases alertness and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour, making it more difficult to fall asleep.

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