Which is worse: Drunk driving or drowsy driving?
While there's less stigma around getting behind the wheel when you're sleepy, it turns out it's just as dangerous: According to the NTSB, the accident risk while driving drowsy is comparable to that of driving drunk.
One of the ways to prevent motor vehicle crashes - which cost employers $60 billion each year - is to keep groggy drivers off the road.
To that end, the National Sleep Foundation has designated November 5-12 as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week (DDPW).
During DDPW, employers will hold toolbox talks, sleep screenings, and training to raise awareness among employees about the seriousness of drowsy driving and ways to reduce accident risk.
Below are some ways you can participate in Drowsy Driving Prevention Week:
- Use the slogan, "Stay Alert, Stay Alive".
- Know the risk factors. Young males, shift workers, commercial drivers, and people with untreated sleep disorders or with short-term or chronic sleep deprivation are at a greater risk for a drowsy driving accident.
- Arrange for a sleep expert to visit your workplace to talk about sleep habits and the hazards of drowsy driving. Visit the National Sleep Foundation for information about sleep centers in your community.
- Have a screening of the National Road Safety Foundation’s films, "Almost Home" and "Recognizing the Drowsy Driver". After the video, have a discussion with your employees about drowsy driving risks and prevention.
- Offer incentives for safe driving behaviors like making safety suggestions, participating in company-wide reporting, and implementing driving safety tips.
- Take the National Sleep Foundation's pledge against drowsy driving.
- Give a toolbox talk. The National Sleep Foundation has put together some talking points to get you started.
- Create a drowsy driving bulletin board in your break room, file room, or hallway. Download these free posters from the NHTSA.
- Create a press release to notify local newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio about your Drowsy Driving Prevention Week activities.
- Offer voluntary screening for sleep apnea. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a large corporation in Florida could save an estimated $136 million in lost productivity over 10 years by screening and treating high-risk employees.
- Develop a written drowsy driving policy. You could include:
- Training workers about the risks and warning signs of drowsy driving
- Providing alternate transportation options, especially from remote worksites where the risk of drowsy driving is higher
- Allowing structured "safety naps" during parts of the work shift
- Creating an ovenight stay policy that allows workers to seek out lodging when they're too tired to drive safely
- Scheduling travel so drivers aren't on the road for long periods of time
- Limiting travel between the hours of 2AM-6AM, when drowsy driving is most likely to occur
Next steps: Download the 2020 Safety Calendar
Drowsy driving is just one of many common — and avoidable — workplace hazards. In addition to participating in DDPW, download the 2020 safety calendar to help you plan your toolbox talks and training.