During the summer, many teens choose to stay up late every night and may even pull all-nighters often which unfortunately increase the amount of drowsy teenage drivers on the road the next day.
Drowsy teenage drivers
The summer had just barely started when an 18 year old in Provo, Utah made the mistake of driving tired. The teen dozed off, left the road, and hit a parked car as well as three pedestrians on the sidewalk. One six year old girl was killed while her five year old cousin and 64 year old grandfather were both hospitalized.
Lifetime of guilt
The family of the little girl killed has chosen not to press charges on the 18 year old driver and no criminal charges from the state have been issued thus far. The teen is not off the hook though. He will likely face a lifetime of guilt for his role in the tragic accident. In an act of compassion on his future struggles, the family of the six year old killed asked the public to be kind and loving to the driver as they knew he would be facing his own trials in the months and years to pass.
The Utah Department of Public Safety has listed the following facts about drowsy driving:
• “Drivers aged 15-24 years and 75-79 had the highest percent of drivers in crashes that were drowsy.
• Male drivers were 1.9 times more likely to be in drowsy driver crashes.
• The highest number of drowsy driver crashes occurred during the hours of 6:00 a.m. – 7:59 a.m., and 2:00 p.m – 5:59 p.m.
• June through August had the most drowsy driving crashes.
• Grand and Millard Counties had the highest percent of crashes involving drowsy drivers.
• Crashes in rural counties in Utah were 2.3 times more likely to involve drowsy driving than crashes in urban counties.”
Beware the signs
In an effort to help prevent drowsy driving, DPS also gives warning signs to watch for:
• “Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking or heavy eyelids;
• Daydreaming or wandering thoughts;
• Trouble remembering the last few miles driven;
• Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes;
• Trouble keeping your head up;
• Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip;
• Feeling restless and irritable.”
Parents should encourage their teenage drivers to get adequate shut-eye during the summer when sleep seems to be scarce. For teenagers who are not getting enough sleep, perhaps limiting driving privileges and encouraging carpooling with well rested teens may help prevent a number of drowsy teenage drivers on the road this summer.