A new study is shining a light on the dangers of driving when you’re tired. A study done by AAA shows that nearly one in ten car crashes are caused by drowsy drivers.
“We work accidents on a regular basis where people say I just fell asleep,” said Cpl. Eric Lee with the Arkansas State Police.
Cpl. Lee says driving while drowsy can be as dangerous as drunk driving or texting and driving.
“It mimics driving under the influence of alcohols, drugs because the same things happen, you lose your awareness, you lose your ability to control the vehicle and your motor skills are reduced,” Cpl. Lee explained.
Companies like Uber are now trying to prevent accidents caused by sleepy drivers. The app counts how many hours drivers have been on the road and automatically goes offline for six hours after a twelve-hour shift.
“I think it’s definitely a good policy, I mean anything that can keep…distracted or tired drivers off the road surely has to be good for everybody, you know,” said Michael Cross, an Uber driver.
Cross has been driving for Uber for about a year and a half. He’s happy with the policy but says some drivers may be negatively affected.
“It may impact some people’s earning potential but I think that that has to be a secondary consideration to safety on the road,” Cross explained.
Cpl. Lee says drivers should avoid getting behind the wheel if they’re drowsy but if they’re already on the road and starting to doze, they are things they can do to wake up.
“Make sure you stop, get out of your vehicle, walk around, get your blood flowing a little bit, we don’t want anybody to get hurt out there and we don’t want the roads to be anymore dangerous than they already are,” Lee said.
As an added precaution, last year the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandated that all commercial drivers add electronic logging devices to their vehicles to ensure drivers are not staying on the road too long.