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Almost Half of Americans Admit to Drowsy Driving

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Nearly half of American adults admit that they’ve fought to stay awake while driving, a new survey finds.

Of the more than 2,000 respondents, 45% said they’d struggled to remain awake while behind the wheel, while 48% said they’d never driven drowsy, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) survey conducted in September.

Each year in the United States, drowsy driving causes an average of 328,000 crashes, including 6,400 fatal accidents, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is Nov. 3 to 10.

“Driving while drowsy is similar to drunk driving with regards to the delays in reaction time and impairment in decision-making,” AASM president Dr. Kelly Carden said in an academy news release. “Drowsy driving can be deadly, yet it is 100% preventable.”

Warning signs of drowsy driving include: frequent yawning or inability to keep your eyes open; nodding off or having trouble keeping your head up; not remembering driving the last few miles; missing road signs or driving past your turn; following too close to cars in front of you; drifting into the other lane of traffic; driving onto the rumble strip or the shoulder of the road.

To prevent drowsy driving, you should: get enough sleep before driving; avoid driving late at night or while alone, if possible, and share the driving with a passenger on long trips; consume caffeine for a short-term boost in alertness; or pull over at a rest stop and take a nap if you begin to feel drowsy.

“Caffeine can provide a short-term boost, but if you’re having trouble keeping your eyes open, then it’s definitely time to pull over,” Carden said.

“Turning up the music or rolling down the windows will not keep you alert while driving. The best option is to get off the road and take a nap if you feel sleepy behind the wheel,” she advised.

“There is no substitute for healthy sleep,” Carden added. “Regular, healthy sleep is essential for staying awake at the wheel and protecting yourself and others from avoidable, potentially life-threatening accidents on the road.”

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Sources

SOURCE: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, news release, Oct. 22, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Some Meds and Driving a Dangerous Duo

SATURDAY, July 27, 2019 — Be careful about what medications you take before you get behind the wheel.

Most drugs won’t affect your ability to drive, but some prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can cause side effects that make it unsafe to drive, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.

Those side effects can include: sleepiness/drowsiness, blurred vision, dizziness, slowed movement, fainting, inability to focus or pay attention, nausea and excitability.

Some medicines can affect your driving ability for just a short time after you take them, but the effects of others can last for several hours, or even into the next day.

Some medicine labels warn to not operate heavy machinery when taking them, and this includes driving a car, the FDA said in a news release.

There are a number of types of medications — or any combination of them — that can make it dangerous to drive or operate any type of vehicle whether a car, bus, train, plane or boat.

These drugs include: opioid pain relievers; prescription drugs for anxiety (for example, benzodiazepines); antiseizure drugs (antiepileptic drugs); antipsychotic drugs; some antidepressants; products that contain codeine; some cold remedies and allergy products such as antihistamines (both prescription and OTC); sleeping pills; muscle relaxants; medicines to treat or control symptoms of diarrhea or motion sickness; diet pills; “stay awake” drugs, and other medications with stimulants (such as caffeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine).

Also, never drive when you’ve combined medication and alcohol, the FDA stressed.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist about medication side effects, including those that interfere with driving, and/or ask for printed information about the side effects of any new medicine.

To manage or minimize medication side effects that can affect driving, your health care provider may be able to adjust your dose, adjust the timing of when you take the medicine, or change the medicine to one that causes fewer side effects, the FDA said.

Always follow a medication’s directions for use and read warnings on the packaging or on handouts provided by the pharmacy.

Tell your health care provider about all health products you are taking, including prescription, non-prescription and herbal products, and also about any reactions you experience.

Don’t stop using a medicine unless told to do so by your doctor, the FDA said.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more on medications and driving.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Bad driving leads to $140 million drug bust in Sydney

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A clumsy driver led police to a A$ 200 million ($ 140 million) drug bust in Australia after he crashed a van laden with 270 kg (600 lb) of methamphetamines into a patrol car parked outside a police station in suburban Sydney.

The man, 28, slammed the drug-filled van into the empty police patrol car at Eastwood in the city’s north on Monday morning, crushing its bonnet, before speeding off, CCTV footage shows. He was caught by police an hour later.

A search of the vehicle turned up 273kg of ice, said police, who released footage of the drugs neatly packed in cardboard boxes, taped up and loaded into the back of the van. Police said in a statement the drugs had a street value of A$ 200 million.

The driver was arrested and charged with drug supply and negligent driving and is due in court on Tuesday.

Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Michael Perry

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Voice-Assisted Tech Can Be a Driving Hazard

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The risks of using voice-based technology in your car may be greater than you think.

Many consider this technology safer than using their hands to operate devices while driving, but it’s not risk-free, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety warns.

Mental distractions can last as long as 27 seconds after drivers use voice-assisted technology to dial, change music or send a text message. At 25 mph, a car travels the length of nearly three football fields during this short time.

“Just because your eyes are on the road and hands are on the wheel, does not mean you are focused on driving,” David Yang, the foundation’s executive director, said in a AAA news release.

“Research from the AAA Foundation shows that mental distractions resulting from talking, texting, or programming navigation can last longer than you think and lead to crashes,” he cautioned.

The risk of a crash is up to four times higher for drivers who talk on a cellphone, and up to eight times higher for those who text behind the wheel, the researchers said.

Even so, nearly half of drivers report talking on a handheld phone while driving recently, and about one-third have sent a text or email, according to the foundation.

The risky behavior persists even though nearly 58% of drivers say talking on a cellphone behind the wheel is a very serious threat to their personal safety, and 78% consider texting a significant danger.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

AAA urges drivers to avoid any task that requires them to take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel — including changing the radio, programming navigation or sipping coffee.

According to Jake Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy and research for AAA, “A quick 2-second glance at your smartphone or vehicle infotainment system can double your risk for a crash. We all know better, so commit to driving free of distractions.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, news release, April 2, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Travelers Campaign ‘Unfinished Stories’ Animates a Distracted Driving Message

Travelers Insurance has launched a powerful new campaign with an important message about road safety with “Unfinished Stories” — a three part series which honors real victims of distracted driving by imagining what their lives might have been through the magic of animation.

“Unfinished Stories” seeks to draw attention to the growing problem of distracted driving, which kills at least nine people and injures more than 1,000 each day in the U.S. alone, according to the CDC.

Two films have launched recently, detailing the tragic deaths and unfinished stories of 19-year-old Shreya Dixit and 61-year-old Howard Stein.

Shreya Dixit was a gifted student and talented singer-songwriter, who was on her way home from school one afternoon when the driver of her vehicle became distracted and hit a concrete pylon. “The Stage,” animated by Psyop and directed by Jack Anderson, imagines her story not ending there, showing Shreya as a successful graduate student who returns to her love of music when she comes across an old song she had written herself but never had the chance to sing out loud. Shreya takes to the stage of an open-mic night and ends up headlining a sold-out show.

Howard Stein was a self-taught master craftsman, who delighted in making furniture and goods for friends and loved ones. He was struck by a distracted driver while securing a tarp on his truck on the side of the road. In “The Tree House,” created in partnership with LOBO animation studio and directed by Guilherme Marcondes, reveals a special relationship between Howard and his granddaughter, Evie, whom he never had a chance to meet. The film imagines a growing bond between the two of them as they craft a backyard tree house from start to finish, and become best friends along the way.

In “The Route,” which debuted late last year, the unfinished story of budding track star Philip LaVallee imagines him rising to the top of his sport and competing at the 2018 Olympic Games in Rio.

The Travelers Institute Every Second Matters distracted driving initiative is a national educational campaign launched in 2017, dedicated to reducing distracted driving and empowering drivers to set positive examples for roadway safety. Learn more at www.travelers.com/distracteddriving.

Shreya's Unfinished Story - The Stage

Shreya’s Unfinished Story – The Stage

Shreya's Unfinished Story - The Stage

Shreya’s Unfinished Story – The Stage

Phillip's Unfinished Story - The Route

Phillip’s Unfinished Story – The Route

Phillip's Unfinished Story - The Route

Phillip’s Unfinished Story – The Route

Howard's Unfinished Story - The Tree House

Howard’s Unfinished Story – The Tree House

Howard's Unfinished Story - The Tree House

Howard’s Unfinished Story – The Tree House

Animation Magazine

Opioid Crisis, Suicides Driving Decline in U.S. Life Expectancy: CDC