Drowsy driving slows reaction times, reduces vigilance and impaired thinking. In the worst case the driver may fall asleep behind the wheel. In Malaysia the issues frequently affected bus drivers especially the one who driving at wee-hours. There have been a number of tragic crashes with high number of fatalities occurred during this hour. Following these tragic crashes, banning commercial public express buses from operating during the wee-hours has emerged as a possible solution, in the interest of passenger safety.
Drowsy Driving Facts by The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM)
Time – Accidents are most common late at night and early in the morning. This is the body’s natural sleep period. Sleepiness also can peak in the middle of the afternoon. Older adults are more likely to have a drowsy-driving accident in the mid-afternoon.
Speed – Severe drowsy driving accidents most often occur at high speeds on highways and other major roadways. However, drowsy driving accidents can occur slower speeds.
Driver Behavior – In many cases, drivers who are drowsy make no effort to brake or avoid an accident. Oftentimes, at least one vehicle may veer off the road.
Untreated Sleep Disorders – Many people with either obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy remain untreated. A common side effect of sleep apnea is severe daytime sleepiness. Narcolepsy can cause you to fall asleep suddenly. These sleep disorders put you at risk for drowsy driving.
Shift Work – People who work night shifts or rotating shifts are at risk for drowsy driving. This includes people who work as doctors, nurses, truck drivers, pilots and police officers. The risk of drowsy driving is great when they drive home after work.
Medication Side-Effects – Many medications cause sleepiness as a side effect. People taking these medications are at higher risk for drowsy driving accidents.
Young Men – Drowsy-driving accidents are most common among young men in their teens, 20s and 30s. These accidents tend to occur between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.