ChiIL Mama and Weasel Momma of World of Weasels Blog hit the road together like Thelma and Louise without the cliff plunge, in the sweet, completely redesigned Ford Fusion. We got to check out the new safety features for 2013 that combat lane swerving, rear ending and other perils of drowsy driving.
Did you just snooze through it? Bet you didn't know November 12-18th was Drowsy Driving Awareness Week. It seems like there's a week or month for every cause now, but this one is huge and impacts everyone....sometimes literally
One of my good high school friends, Jeff, died at age 20, coming home for break with a friend from college. He was brilliant, funny and had a promising political career in mind. His dreams ended with a broken neck because the driver fell asleep.
A decade later, Ani, a close friend of my husband's died coming home from Wisconsin where she'd been teaching rock climbing to environmentalists. Both the front and back seat passengers died when the driver fell asleep. She was strong, dedicated and smart. She was 30.
People who would never dream of driving drunk, take their lives and the lives of others into their hands when they drive drowsy. As Thanksgiving weekend is upon us, and many families will be traveling to be with loved ones, it is especially crucial to know your limits and not...I repeat...not drive drowsy!! When the turkey tryptophan kicks in, it's not the time to be on a road trip.
844 Traffic Deaths This Year
The highway signs proclaimed this grim statistic as I headed out to Naperville to meet up with Ford and AAA for a Drowsy Driving Awareness Week Brunch last Thursday, November 15th. Every time we've hit the highway this year, my kids (9 & 11) notice and remark on the ever changing death toll signage for the state of Illinois.
I had the great opportunity to meet with Beth from AAA and ask her a few questions. She said the death rates are up this year after a steady decline for years. One reason is the rebounding economy means more people are on the road, and more of those people are texting and driving, multitasking in dangerous ways with cell phones, or driving tired.
We also got to hear how Ford is making the roads safer with anti-drowsy technology. Their new 2013 Fusion has been completely revamped and with the tech package add on, it's got some great bells and whistles to wake up dozing drivers and decrease accident rates.
ChiIL Mama and Weasel Momma of World of Weasels Blog took a drive together in the sweet, new Fusion. Fortunately we'd just downed copious amounts of coffee at brunch with Ford, so we were worlds away from sleepy. We made a few test swerves and a slow drift into the other lane to see what the Fusion would do.
Ford Fusion 2013--making driving safer
The Ford Fusion is like Santa...it knows when you are sleeping. It knows when you're awake!
This car is so smart it has a Ford Driver Workload Estimator that can tell if you're dozing off from the pressure and placement of your hands on the wheel. If you're drifting, there's a Lane Keeping System With Driver Alert. The wheel vibrates, a light comes on to suggest coffee, and the car will even engage the brakes if you get too close to traffic in front of you. It won't brake for you, but it does everything but...getting the brakes prepped and ready to go in a split second. Those safety features can be turned off and don't kick on until you hit 40, so it won't vibrate with every turn and lane change.
Even the cruise control is adaptive, so no more tapping the breaks for slow traffic and accelerating again. Fusion's got it under control all by itself. It even parallel parks itself with a simple push of a button.
I was also geeking out over BLIS--the blind spot information system. There are few things more nerve wracking than checking your mirror for an all clear, changing lanes and seeing a car materialize where there was none--with a blaring horn and a glaring driver. It happens. This cool little safety feature is imbedded in the side mirrors and shows you what's in your blind spot! Pretty sweet.
The GPS and Bluetooth enabled dash cut down on distracting personal gadgets and have a Do Not Disturb button to block incoming calls and texts and divert them into voicemail for later. Can you make one that mutes kids in the back seat?
We also dug the gas saving feature that shuts the car down at stops for a substantial savings. Ford Fusion is the only car on the market to integrate all of these safety features.
Check out these telling stats from DrowsyDriving.org
Facts and Stats
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll, 60% of adult drivers – about 168 million people – say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and more than one-third, (37% or 103 million people), have actually fallen asleep at the wheel! In fact, of those who have nodded off, 13% say they have done so at least once a month. Four percent – approximately eleven million drivers – admit they have had an accident or near accident because they dozed off or were too tired to drive.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. These figures may be the tip of the iceberg, since currently it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness.
- There is no test to determine sleepiness as there is for intoxication, i.e. a “Breathalyzer”.
- State reporting practices are inconsistent. There is little or no police training in identifying drowsiness as a crash factor. Every state currently addresses fatigue and/or sleepiness in some way in their crash report forms. However, the codes are inconsistent and two states (Missouri and Wisconsin) do not have specific codes for fatigue and/or fell asleep.
- Self-reporting is unreliable.
- Drowsiness/fatigue may play a role in crashes attributed to other causes such as alcohol. About one million such crashes annually are thought to be produced by driver inattention/lapses.
- According to data from Australia, England, Finland, and other European nations, all of whom have more consistent crash reporting procedures than the U.S., drowsy driving represents 10 to 30 percent of all crashes.
Sleep related crashes are most common in young people, especially men, adults with children and shift workers. According to the NSF’s 2002 poll:
- Adults between 18-29 are much more likely to drive while drowsy compared to other age groups (71% vs. 30-64, 52% vs. 65+, 19%).
- Men are more likely than women to drive while drowsy (56% vs. 45%) and are almost twice as likely as women to fall asleep while driving (22% vs. 12%).
- Adults with children in the household are more likely to drive drowsy than those without children (59% vs. 45%).
- Shift workers are more likely than those who work a regular daytime schedule to drive to or from work drowsy at least a few days a month (36% vs. 25%).
- Sleep deprivation increases the risk of a sleep-related crash; the less people sleep, the greater the risk.
According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in such a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more, while people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk four to five times.
- A study by researchers in Australia
showed that being awake for 18 hours produced an impairment equal to a
blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05, and .10 after 24 hours; .08 is
considered legally drunk.
Other research indicates commercial drivers and people with undiagnosed sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and acute insomnia are also at greater risk for fall asleep crashes.
Sleep deprivation and fatigue make lapses of attention more likely to occur, and may play a role in behavior that can lead to crashes attributed to other causes.
- According to NSF’s 2000 Sleep in America poll, when they are driving drowsy, 42 percent of those polled said they become stressed, 32 percent get impatient and 12 percent tend to drive faster.
- In the same poll, about one in five drivers (22%) said they pull over to nap when driving drowsy. Older adults are more likely to pull over and nap than younger drivers, who are most likely to drive when drowsy and least likely to pull over and nap.
- People tend to fall asleep more on high-speed, long, boring, rural highways. However, those who live in urban areas are more likely to doze off while driving compared to people in rural or suburban areas (24% vs. 17%).
- Most crashes or near misses occur between 4:00 – 6:00 a.m.; midnight – 2:00 a.m. and 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. are also peak times for crashes to occur. Nearly one-quarter of adults (23%) say they know someone personally who has crashed due to falling asleep at the wheel.
- In NSF’s 1999 Sleep in America poll, 60 percent of parents with children who drive living in the household said they have not discussed the dangers of falling asleep at the wheel. In the 2002 poll, nearly all respondents (96%) agreed that information about driving while drowsy should be included in tests for a driver’s license.
- Several drowsy driving incidents have resulted in jail sentences for the driver.
- Multi-million dollar settlements have been awarded to families of crash victims as a result of lawsuits filed against individuals as well as businesses whose employees were involved in drowsy driving crashes.
Arrive Alive-Don't Drive Drowsy.
Test drive a redesigned 2013 Ford Fusion for loads of sweet safety features.