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State police say drowsy driving is a problem in east Idaho

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Jan 05 2013 04:37:04 PM CST
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

A new report shows that 1 in 24 U.S. adults admit to nodding off behind the wheel.

It's called "drowsy driving" and researchers behindĀ  the study said they think that number could actually be even higher.

"Hopefully they're going off the right shoulder and they're only endangering themselves," said Cpl. Peter Sibus with Idaho State Police. "But a lot of the time, they're crossing the center lane and coming into on-coming traffic."

In our area, ISP said they see it all of the time with workers at the Idaho National Laboratory doing around-the-clock shifts.

"They're exhausted, the car is warm, it's easy to fall asleep," said Sibus. "You know, we get in the habit of doing it on a daily basis and unfortunately, somebody could pay the price someday."

And a while ago, someone did. Sibus said a drowsy driver on the highway changed a little boy's life when his parents were fixing a flat tire on the side of the road.

"He (the driver) hit their car and one of their children, a 12-year-old boy, was ejected," said Sibus. "His life was changed forever with a head injury. He'll never be the same because someone was driving drowsy."

Sibus said if you're feeling sleepy or if your tires hit the rumble strips on the side on the road -- it's time to pull over.

Being awake for 18 hours translates into a .08 blood alcohol level, the equivalent of a DUI.

"Your brain is essentially shutting off because your body is exhausted and it needs rest," said Sibus. "It's telling your body that it's time to go to sleep and there's nothing you can really do about it, aside from pulling over and taking a nap."

Some studies estimate that as many as 15 to 33 percent of fatal crashes in the U.S. might involve drowsy drivers.

To view the CDC's full report, visit http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/

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