LOCAL NEWS

Dashcam research reveals extent of drowsy driver dilemma

Feb 8, 2018, 5:13 PM | Updated: 10:34 pm

AAA study reveals more drowsy drivers on road

TAYLORSVILLE – The most in-depth research ever done in the United States regarding drowsy driving shows the dangerous behavior is responsible for a much higher percentage of crashes than previous federal estimates.

“Drowsy driving is difficult to prove,” said John Gleason, a Zero Fatalities and Utah Department of Transportation Spokesman, agreeing with the findings of a AAA study released Thursday.

“There’s not a breathalyzer for drowsy driving.”

Many people involved in a crash will not admit that they were tired. If it’s a fatal crash, investigators can have a hard time pinpointing drowsy driving as the cause.

Lives Lost to Drowsy Driving

One Utah mom, who lost her son in a car crash seven years ago, wishes drowsy driving had been on her radar.

Tyler Blias died in an accident that investigators say was caused by drowsy driving

“He had a huge heart. He was everybody’s best friend,” said Lucinda Campbell characterizing her son.

On July 3, 2010, Campbell’s son Tyler Blais and a close friend were headed home from a road trip to the Grand Canyon. They left Nevada around 9 p.m. headed for Salt Lake.

“They were both just exhausted,” she said. But, she believes, the 17-year-olds felt invincible, unaffected by exhaustion.

Her son’s friend was driving. They made it as far as Santaquin, nearly an hour from home.

“We believe that he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a guard rail and killed them both,” said Campbell.

The Study’s Findings

For the study, AAA used an unprecedented analysis of in-vehicle dashcam video from more than 700 crashes, confirming that the danger of drowsy driving soars above official estimates.

Researchers examined video of drivers’ faces in the three minutes leading up to a crash. Using a scientific measure linking the percentage of time a person’s eyes are closed to their level of drowsiness, the researchers determined that 9.5 percent of all crashes and 10.8 percent of crashes resulting in significant property damage involved drowsiness. Federal estimates indicate drowsiness is a factor in only one to two percent of crashes.

“We’ve known for a long time that we’re only scratching the surface when it comes to drowsy driving,” said Gleason.

What Your Family Can Do

Utah statistics reveal more than 1,000 drowsy driving crashes in Utah in each of the last six years, with a high of 15 fatalities in 2016. But, Gleason said, those numbers are also likely low.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Campbell.

She had talked to her son about drunk driving, distracted driving and buckling up, but not drowsy driving.

“I did tell him, ‘If you get tired, pull over’, but it was just a passing thing,” shared Campbell. “It wasn’t something I insisted on, which I wish I would have.”

“We can make the choice not to drink and drive,” said Gleason. “We can make the choice to buckle up, but every one of us gets tired.”

Gleason urges all of us to recognize the signs before they become a problem, and pull over.

“If you’re asking yourself, ‘Should I pull over? Am I too tired?’ The answer is yes, because your body has already started to shut down.”

If you realize you’re falling asleep, experts recommend you pull over, get out and stretch and take turns driving. They also suggest getting plenty of sleep before embarking on a road trip.

“I think it’s absolutely an important conversation,” said Campbell. “I think it’s something that really needs to be conveyed to these kids.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A Cache County pharmacist said he feels safer now that someone is in jail on drug charges relating ...

Shelby Lofton

‘This is endangerment to pharmacies:’ pharmacist who was victim of fraud calls, store break-in speaks out on rapper’s charges

A Cache County pharmacist said he feels safer now that someone is in jail on drug charges relating to fraudulent prescription schemes.

5 hours ago

Police are investigating an auto-pedestrian in Salt Lake City on Sunday night. One person was trans...

Mark Jones

One person hurt in auto-pedestrian collision Sunday night

Salt Lake City police are investigating a auto-pedestrian collision Sunday night. 

6 hours ago

The Manti Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was dedicated Sunday, Apri...

Mark Jones

President Nelson dedicates the Manti Utah Temple

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rededicated the Manti Utah Temple on Sunday evening.

8 hours ago

A Draper police officer and two teenagers were in the hospital following a car wreck Saturday night...

Devin Oldroyd

Draper police officer, teenagers sent to hospital after car wreck

A Draper police officer and two teenagers were in the hospital following a car wreck Saturday night.

10 hours ago

blue and red lights mixing from a police car...

Mary Culbertson

Driver ejected from truck, killed in Washington County

A man driving a pickup truck in Washington County was ejected from the truck and killed on Saturday.

14 hours ago

25-year-old Tobias Braaten was scheduled to come back from an overnight hiking trip on Saturday, Ap...

Mary Culbertson, Brianna Chavez, Mark Jones

Washington hiker found safe Sunday afternoon in mountains east of Layton

A 25-year-old Washington man lost in the mountains east of Layton was found alive Sunday afternoon.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Dashcam research reveals extent of drowsy driver dilemma