As we prepare to lose an hour of sleep on Sunday for Daylight Saving Time, experts from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) say the increase in sleep loss can be dangerous when we’re behind the wheel.
March 3-10 is National Sleep Awareness Week, set aside to highlight tragedies that result from sleep loss. Experts say operating a vehicle is especially dangerous while sleep deprived because the most basic requirement of driving is simply being awake. Mark Rosekind, international sleep expert said there’s a 17 percent increase in crashes Monday following the time change after daylight saving.
“When you are behind the wheel, every moment requires you to be wide-awake and alert,” Rosekind said.
The NTSB has issued more than 200 safety recommendations to reduce risk of transportation accidents — occurring on airplanes, buses, trains, and ships — while fatigued. Guidelines address areas including hours of service regulations, scheduling policies, diagnosing and treating sleep disorders, and vehicle technologies. But the NTSB says more needs to be done.
Rosekind said American society is partially to blame, because we tend to praise attributes such as “hardworking,” and “dedicated.” But he says that can be deadly when operating a vehicle while fatigued.
“Sleep as if your life and those around you depend on it,” Rosekind said.
Information in this story is from the National Transportation Safety Board.