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

Top Stories

Local News

Chris Jensen and Chris Wharton have been married for six years....
Mike Anderson

LGBTQ+ community concerned Supreme Court could revisit same-sex marriage

An opinion filed by Justice Clarence Thomas has some people concerned over whether the Supreme Court could reconsider other past rulings, including same-sex marriage and contraception.
22 hours ago
...
Erin Cox

Faith leaders: Abortion conversation has changed, not religious stances

KSL's Erin Cox spoke one-on-one with some of Utah's most influential faith leaders about how their stances on abortion have not changed, but the conversations surrounding them have.
22 hours ago
...
Shara Park

Two Utah Olympians experience ride of a lifetime with Air Force Thunderbirds

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds gave a “Hometown Hero” ride of a lifetime to two of Utah’s Olympians Friday as final preparations are underway for this weekend’s Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show at Hill Air Force Base.
22 hours ago
FILE: Image of a pregnant woman. (Deseret News, Sara Reid)...
Ashley Moser

Does Utah adequately fund support for women with unwanted pregnancies?

The number one reason Utah women seek an abortion is socioeconomic, according to statistics from the Utah Department of Health. As KSL's Ashley Moser explains, experts say there are policies lawmakers should consider right now to help women financially.
22 hours ago
The Utah State Capitol on Friday, March 25 when the Utah House and Senate voted to overturn a veto....
Larry D. Curtis

BREAKING: Abortion now prohibited in Utah

The Utah law prohibiting abortion, with some exceptions, is now part of Utah legal code according to a notice sent from the Utah State Legislature Friday.
22 hours ago
FILE (St. George Police Department Facebook)...
Madison Swenson

Man arrested for two robberies in St. George

A man was arrested and booked on multiple charges Friday after two robberies were reported in St. George.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Dashcam research reveals extent of drowsy driver dilemma