The 2008 State of the States Report on Drowsy Driving from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) found a general awareness of drowsy driving at the state level, but a need for new efforts related to enforcement, education, and other prevention efforts still exists.
Surveys were given to each of the 50 states and Washington, DC, and covered topics that the NSF believes to be at the root of the under-identification of, and the inadequate response to, drowsy driving and fall-asleep crashes.
Highlights of the survey include the following:
• No states have a law that addresses nonfatal, sleep-related motor-vehicle crashes
• New Jersey is the only state that has a specific statute that criminalizes drowsy driving in a fatal crash, but it has been largely ineffective in combating tired drivers because of its very narrow definition of fatigue
• All but one state (Missouri) include a code for fatigue or sleepiness on their police crash report form
• Less than 40% of law enforcement agencies educate their officers on the impact of fatigue on driving performance or proper countermeasures, diminishing the role of any related codes
Following the analysis of the surveys, the NSF believes it is important for states to:
• Establish enforceable laws to prosecute and prevent drowsy driving
• Develop state-wide public information and education campaigns aimed at drivers, parents, and employers
• Increase training on the effects of fatigue for law enforcement officers
• Establish graduated driver licensing systems with curfews starting at 10:00 pm
• Mandate or encourage the inclusion of accurate sleep and drowsy driving countermeasure information in driver’s education classes nation-wide