Professional Drivers Drive Worse Than Other Drivers When Tired

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Professional Drivers Not Fully Aware of Fatigue

At high levels of sleepiness, professional drivers drive worse than others, but rate themselves as being more alert.

The conclusion is from a study by Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI). They have made several studies that shows that professional drivers don’t seem to be fully aware of how fatigue affects them.

“When professional drivers estimate their fatigue, they often estimate that they are more alert than others”, says Anna Anund, research director. But at the same level of fatigue professional drivers drive worse than others. They are involved in more involuntarily lane straddling or lane drifting, resulting in dangerous traffic situations.

It is possible that fatigue is such a common condition among professional drivers that they don’t notice the warning signals. This makes them more dangerous on the highways.

But all drivers underestimate the effects of driving while tired. Drivers need to take drowsy driving seriously. Not only by professional drivers, but by all drivers.

Drowsy Driving is More Common than You Think

At least 100,000 motor vehicle crashes and more than 1,500 deaths per year in the U.S. are related to drowsy driving.

Drowsy driving is dangerous because sleep deprivation can have similar effects on your body as drinking alcohol.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, being awake for 18 hours straight makes you drive like you have a blood alcohol level of .05 (for reference, .08 is considered drunk). If you’ve been awake for a full 24 hours and drive, it’s like you have a blood alcohol level of .10.

Learn more about the signals of fatigue and how to prevent drowsy driving: What is Fatigue?

What is Fatigue - Illustration by DriversPrep

Is it Illegal to Drive Fatigued?

In general, states have no statues that explicit prohibits driving while fatigued.

Two exceptions:

New Hersey considers a driver that has been without sleep for 24 hours to be driving recklessly, with the same consequences as driving intoxicated.

In Arkansas, fatigued driving is a criminal offense if the driver is involved in a fatal accident and has been without sleep for 24 consecutive hours or is in a state of sleep after being without sleep for 24 consecutive hours.

Over the years, many bills have been introduced to make driving while drowsy or operating av vehicle while fatigued an offense. Some of the latest bills are: Maine: HB 683 (2015), New York: AB 692 (2015), Tennessee: SB 2586 (2014), and Massachusetts: SB 1773 (2012). They have all failed.

Instead, many states have enacted awareness campaigns in an attempt to educate drivers about the dangers of fatigued driving.

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