A Specialist assigned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, died in a PMV-4 mishap 5 February 2022 in Springfield, Tennessee, at 0420 local. The Soldier was traveling westbound on I-24 when he lost control of his vehicle and struck a tree. The specific circumstances of the mishap, including the Soldier’s use of seat belt, speed, and alcohol or drugs as contributing factors, are currently unknown. The safety/unit points of contact are waiting for local law enforcement to release their final report.
Since 2017, the Army has lost an average of 36 Soldiers a year to PMV-4 mishaps. This mishap was the eighth PMV-4 fatality of FY22 and below the number of fatalities for the same time period last year.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, about half of U.S. adult drivers admit to consistently getting behind the wheel while feeling drowsy. About 20% admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point in the past year – with more than 40% admitting this has happened at least once in their driving careers.
These startling figures show how prevalent drowsy driving is. What drivers may not realize is how much drowsy driving puts themselves – and others – at risk. In fact, an estimated 5,000 people died in 2015 in crashes involving drowsy driving, according to a Governors Highway Safety Association report.Driving while drowsy is similar to driving under influence of alcohol:
• Drivers’ reaction times, awareness of hazards and ability to sustain attention all worsen the drowsier the driver is.
• Driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% – the U.S. legal limit.
• You are three times more likely to be in a car crash if you are fatigued.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every year about 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving. These crashes result in more than 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries. The real number may be much higher, however, as it is difficult to determine whether a driver was drowsy at the time of a crash.
A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated that 328,000 drowsy driving crashes occur annually. That's more than three times the police-reported number. The same study found that 109,000 of those drowsy driving crashes resulted in an injury and about 6,400 were fatal. The researchers suggest the prevalence of drowsy driving fatalities is more than 350% greater than reported.
Beyond the human toll is the economic one. NHTSA estimates fatigue-related crashes resulting in injury or death cost society $109 billion annually, not including property damage.Interventions for Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving affects everyone, but especially those under age 25, who make up an estimated 50% or more of drowsy driving crashes.
That means interventions focusing on this age group – males especially – can help reduce drowsy driving among those vulnerable. One such intervention is for parents to incorporate discussions and rules on drowsy driving while completing their parent-teen driving agreements.Ways to reduce drowsy driving include:
• Crash avoidance technologies: New and existing safety technologies, such as drowsiness alert and lane-departure warnings, can detect common drowsy driving patterns and warn drivers to stay in their lane or take a break.
• Getting more sleep: According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, adults should get seven or more hours of sleep each night.
• Medication labels: A 2015 article by Consumer Reports found that side effects warnings are not always clear; new labeling guidelines may help drivers understand when to drive or not drive after taking these medications.
• Employers: Workplaces with strong off-the-job safety and health programs can include key information on getting sufficient sleep and refraining from driving drowsy