Drowsy Driving Prevention Legislation in Florida
What should you know about drowsy driving and ways to prevent car accidents in Florida?
Recently, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), along with the Florida Department of Transportation and other organizations, led a Drowsy Driving Prevention Week campaign. Residents of West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and cities throughout the state should learn more about the risks of drowsy or fatigued driving. For the safety campaign, the DHSMV partnered with the Florida Department of Health, the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Police Chiefs Association, the Florida Trucking Association, and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety to emphasize the serious risks associated with drowsy driving. News about the drowsy driving campaign appeared in an article in The Clewiston News, as well as in other local Florida news sources.
If you do not get enough sleep the night before you drive, you could risk getting into a serious car accident. Many Floridians do not realize it, but driving while fatigued can impair your ability to focus on the road and to avoid a crash.
Florida’s Ronshay Dugans Act
The state of Florida is familiar with the very serious risks of distracted driving. To be sure, the Ronshay Dugans Act (Florida Statutes Section 683.332) designates the first week of September as “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week,” in which state organizations “are encouraged to educate the law enforcement community and the public about the relationship between fatigue and performance.” The statute emphasizes that there is “research showing fatigue to be as much of an impairment as alcohol and as dangerous while operating a motor vehicle.”
The law is named for Ronshay Dugans, an eight-year-old third grader who died in 2008 after her school bus was struck by a cement truck. According to a report from WCTV News, she died as a result of brain injuries sustained in the crash. An article from WFSU Public Media reported that the cement truck driver had been “fatigued and driving recklessly” at the time of the collision.
According to Terry L. Rhodes, the DHSMV Executive Director, it is essential to raise awareness about the link between drowsy driving and impaired accidents in Florida: “Fatigue affects your ability to drive safely and can have deadly consequences. If you are traveling Florida roads, take breaks along the way and switch drivers if you start to feel tired. Ensure you Arrive Alive; never drive drowsy.”
Tips for Drowsy Driving Accident Prevention
The DHSMV provides important safety tips for drowsy driving crash prevention, which include the following:
- Do not drive at a time when you normally would be sleeping;
- Always get enough rest—at least 7 hours of sleep, typically—before you drive;
- If you are driving a long distance, stop for a rest break every 100 miles or every two hours;
- Leave yourself a significant amount of time to reach your destination, taking into account rest breaks;
- Drink caffeine when you are behind the wheel—two cups of coffee is recommended every few hours;
- Employ a “buddy system” and switch drivers when you get tired; and
- Know the side-effects of your medications, and avoid driving if you are on any prescription drugs that could make you drowsy.
Seek Advice from a Boca Raton Car Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a drowsy driving collision, a Boca Raton car accident attorney can speak with you about your options. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC today for more information.