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Spring Forward, Fall Back, Drowsy Driving Always Dangerous

A National Transportation Safety Board report commissioned by Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Nydia M. Velázquez Velazquez “identified driver fatigue as an issue on its Most Wanted List of Safety Improvements.” The New York Times reported on October 31, 2011, that Schumer “described it as “a wake-up call” and asked federal officials to create a more rigorous regulatory system for the industry.”

With Daylight Savings Time the following weekend, the National Road Safety Foundation, Inc. (NRSF) issued a November 7 press release reminded motorists of the increased likelihood of “drowsy driving.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving crashes account for 1,500 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion in losses each year. David Reich of the NSRF said that “drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving.”

Indeed, we should all take the effects the clock change can have on our driving. Hopefully the findings of the NTSB report will be taken into consideration when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issues its long-awaited final rules governing truck drivers’ “hours of service.” In an effort to reduce the number of truck accidents, the FMCSA’s proposed changes would reduce a driver’s maximum daily driving time from 11 hours to 10 hours and reduce the on-duty “work day” from 14 hours to 13 hours.

Have you suffered from drowsy driving as a result of Daylight Savings Time? Or have you been involved in an accident because another driver fell asleep while behind the wheel? Tell us about your experience.