States Awarded Funds To Launch Drowsy Driving Awareness Campaign For Road Safety

by Jake Tully - Published: 5/19/2017

Four states are receiving grants from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF) in order to execute campaigns surrounding awareness for drowsy driving.

Iowa, Maryland, Nevada, and Tennessee will receive $15,000 apiece in funding for their campaigns, in which they will devise innovate ways to address the
issue of drowsy driving for both commercial and non-commercial vehicles.

A panel of experts in drowsy driving selected these four states out of 12 total applicants based on multiple criteria, following a GHSA report in 2016 that studied drowsy driving and its presence on roadways in the United States.

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“Drowsy driving is a highway safety issue that doesn’t often get the attention it deserves,” said Madison Forker, Communications Coordinator for GHSA. “Our report ‘Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do’ found that drowsy driving costs society $109 billion annually – with an average of 328,000 crashes, 109,000 injuries, 6,400 deaths each year. It’s crucial that we get people to realize that fatigue is a form of impairment.”

The GHSA reports that each state that received a grant has its own campaign tailored to the specific needs and awareness targets they are planning to approach.

Tennessee reports that it will be working with the Tennessee Trucking Foundation to mobilize Road Team Captains throughout the state to share drowsy driving prevention messages across the state. Though the campaign is oriented to include all drivers, many participants are reported to focus efforts en educating the commercial trucking industry in particular.

According to the GHSA, all four states are utilizing social media in some respect in order to supplement their campaign.

“Social media has proved a highly successful method for State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) to get the word out about various highway safety issues,” said Forker. “Not only does social media provide a direct line between the SHSO and the public, it also allows for more conversation and idea-sharing. As our world becomes increasingly digital, the public is looking for quick, easily consumable information, which is exactly what social media allows. Safety is an important message, and one that we need people to hear.

Forker said that one of the most valuable tools in combating drowsy driving is ensuring that drivers of both commercial vehicles and non-commercial vehicles are well-rested.

“Being well-rested is the only way to prevent drowsy driving, said Forker. “There’s no magic bullet here – caffeine, A/C, and loud music are ‘bandages over the bullet hole’ if a driver is fatigued. Our best recommendation for any driver who’s feeling drowsy is to find a safe place to pull over and rest for a while.”

States that received funding reported that they will also be providing online resources, in-person workshops and a greater law enforcement presence as part of their campaigns.