UHP looking for drowsy drivers as children head back to school

Aug 22, 2023, 6:50 PM | Updated: 7:54 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The third week in August is drowsy driving awareness week in Utah.

The Utah Highway Patrol wants drivers to know that troopers are looking for tired drivers.

Energy drinks, coffee, or soda pop – the fact of the matter is there is no substitute for sleep when it comes to fatigued driving.

“You don’t remember the last couple miles that you have driven, your mind is somewhere else you notice that you are fluctuating speeds, you are moving out of your lanes,” Sgt. Brian Peterson from the Utah Highway Patrol said.

Peterson says those who sleep six hours or less are three times more likely to be involved in a crash.

“Your perception changes, you are slower to react to potential hazards in the roads, to other vehicles,  which obviously causes a problem when driving a car at 70 miles an hour down the freeway,” he added.

The Centers for Disease Control said being awake for more than 18 hours has the same effect on your body as having a blood alcohol content level of .10 percent. That’s double the legal limit in Utah.

Now that school is back in session, that puts more children at school crossing zones in danger.

So ‘when in doubt, sleep it out’.

Peterson said, “We are going to see more kids on the roadways, on sidewalks walking to and from school. Statistically, it shows that people that work swing shifts and graveyard shifts are fatigued when they’re driving home from work and those are the times that kids are going to be out on the roadways.”

School Districts around the state asked drivers to pay attention to the red flashing lights and the extended stop signs on school buses.

Paul Berjera, Jordan School District’s director of transportation said, “I think people are in a hurry, and they just want to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B.’”

The district provided video from various school buses that show drivers ignoring the red flashing lights and stop signs.

If you have to ask yourself “Am I too tired to drive” odds are you probably are. Take a nap or postpone your drive, it’s just not worth the risk.

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UHP looking for drowsy drivers as children head back to school