'Wake up!' if you're getting behind the wheel
As Thanksgiving approaches, Algonquin residents will be looking to firm up their early holiday travel plans or may have family and friends coming to the area to visit.
This week kicks off National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week being recognized as Nov. 5-12.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, as much as $37.9 billion a year in accident related costs are attributed to fatigue driving. With heightened travel because of Thanksgiving and the possibility of acclimate weather conditions, the roads will be even more dangerous.
Especially now that we are past Halloween and leading into the holiday season, retail establishments have already begun preparing for increased purchases and an optimistic shopping season.
Franks Gerkin McKenna Law (FGM Law), which specializes in workers compensation law, indicated that commercial truck drivers are especially prone to drowsiness during this season for two main reasons; higher demand on their services and just like everyone else, they welcome the extra income before the holidays.
There are a lot of drivers that take on extra runs starting as early as October, if not careful, the extra hours driving with improper quality of breaks in-between, can make for dangerous situations.
"The Department of Transportation has put strict guidelines in place for regulating the number of hours a driver can spend behind the wheel at a single time," indicated David Montenegro, an attorney with FGM Law. "However, between those runs, if drivers do not get the quality rest needed, the mandatory break time could be useless in preventing dangerous situations."
Another interesting statistic that came from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration is that males under the age of 30 make up nearly two-thirds of drowsy driving crashes in the U.S. Startling was that the age group of 18- to 24-year-olds ranked amongst the highest.
"That's the typical college aged group," Montenegro commented. Leading up to the Thanksgiving break, many students are completing heavy exam schedules. With late night cram secessions and going days on limited sleep trying to complete assignments prior to the break, they head right into travel plans already exhausted. "With all the rushing rushing to get home in time for Thanksgiving it is no wonder, yet saddening, that we see statistics like this," stated Montenegro.
In recognition of the heightened awareness surrounding National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week it is encouraged that all Algonquin drivers pay a little extra attention to their own level of drowsiness, pulling off to a safe area and resting might take longer to get to where you need to go, but actually getting there is the most important part.