Excessive sleepiness may result in an increased risk of a motor vehicle crash either
because the motorist falls asleep while driving or because he experiences reduced attention to road events and driving tasks due to fatigue/sleepiness.
Mr. Chairman, members of the Surface Transportation Subcommittee, I am
David K. Willis, President and Chief Executive Officer of the AAA Foundation for
Traffic Safety. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a publicly supported,
charitable research and educational organization affiliated with the American
Automobile Association, a federation of 99 motor clubs serving more than 39
million motorists in the United States and Canada.
In Massachusetts, Donald Graham, a 54-year-old bookkeeper, became
embroiled in a heated, ongoing traffic dispute with Michael Blodgett, 42, on
February 20, 1994.
In 1995, 543 people were killed while on foot on an Interstate highway. Pedestrian
fatalities on Interstates have claimed an average of 610 lives each year since
Reports of violent traffic incidents have increased nearly 7 percent per year since
1990. "Yet this is only the small tip of a very large iceberg," says David K. Willis,
President of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Regardless of whether we consider fatal crashes recorded throughout the United
States or total crashes recorded in one state, it is clear that speeding is a serious
threat to the motoring public. In 1993, for example, some 53,343 drivers were
involved in fatal traffic crashes in the United States.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has sponsored a project to "reinvent" driver education into a format that reduces crashes by novice drivers.
Roadway safety standards require that shoulders meet specifications for width and stability.
There is no question that 16-24 year olds are disproportionately high contributors to traffic accidents and fatalities. They are also the greatest loss group for automobile insurers.
This study addresses two key questions regarding the causes of sleep-related accidents: 1) Can drivers anticipate sleep onset well enough to avoid sleep-related accidents? 2) How do drivers use physiological cues of sleepiness in making judgments regarding the riskiness of continued driving?
- Media Center