WAKE UP! -Alertness Solutions Introduces ''Awake at the Wheel'' Guide and CD to Combat Drowsy Driving
As Summer Driving Season Approaches, Motorists Are Unaware That Falling Asleep at the Wheel Causes More Accidents Than Drunk Driving
CUPERTINO, Calif. May 21, 2003;-- Alertness Solutions, a Cupertino scientific consulting firm that specializes in alertness management, has introduced Awake at the Wheel, a 32-page Alertness Guide and 36-minute audio CD to help drivers avoid drowsy driving, one of the biggest causes of crashes, as the Memorial Day weekend approaches and summer holiday driving begins.
According to an annual National Sleep Foundation poll, nearly one in five American drivers -- or roughly 33 million people -- say they've fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. Furthermore, a consensus of safety experts has determined that drowsy driving causes more accidents than alcohol or drug use.
An Alertness Solutions survey of health care workers found that 39% reported falling asleep while driving to and from work in the past year and 39% had a near-miss or accident due to driving tired. In a similar survey of corporate fleet drivers for a Fortune 100 company, Alertness Solutions learned that more than 20% of the company's drivers nodded off at the wheel in the past year and that 14% had an accident or near-miss.
"Drowsy driving is a significant and largely unappreciated cause of motor vehicle crashes," said Susan Coughlin, former vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. "Alertness Solutions has an innovative remedy that combines state-of-the-art science with a practical tool, offering the potential to reduce crashes and make highway driving safer."
Officially, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that fatigue annually causes 100,000 police-reported crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,500 crash fatalities, costing the United States approximately $12.5 billion. An international group of scientists has determined that fatigue may be responsible for as many as 20% of crashes worldwide, or a staggering 1.2 million annually in the US. And the National Transportation Safety Board has identified fatigue as a contributing factor in at least 30% of heavy truck crashes in the United States.
"People don't realize how common fall-asleep crashes are, that they often have tragic consequences, and that a variety of people are affected," said Dr. Mark Rosekind, the president and chief scientist of Alertness Solutions and former director of the Fatigue Countermeasures Program at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. Before his work at NASA, Rosekind, a Ph.D., directed the Center for Human Sleep Research at the Stanford University Sleep Disorders Center.
Especially prone to fall-asleep crashes are shift workers, particularly those who work nights and are likely to be sleep deprived. Up to 30% of those with non-traditional work schedules report having had a fatigue-related incident or accident while driving in the past year. Other high-risk groups include young adults (age 16 to 29), and commercial drivers, who spend long hours on the road, especially at night.
Alertness Solutions offers Awake at the Wheel, with an Alertness Guide and audio CD that combine a user-friendly format and easy-to-understand scientific information to prod behavioral changes that can reduce fall-asleep crashes.
The Awake at the Wheel Alertness Guide and audio CD sells for $19.95 and includes the following:
Information about what makes you sleepy and how this affects your ability to drive safely Ways to accurately evaluate your alertness Strategies to help you stay alert A planning tool that allows you to use strategies on your next trip "Information about the dangers of drowsy driving is very much needed," said Richard L. Gelula, executive director of the National Sleep Foundation. "Awake at the Wheel is an important and useful tool for current and future drivers that will help them recognize and understand sleepiness, maximize their alertness and increase their safety on the road. "
Awake at the Wheel also provides tools for various at-risk groups, including shift workers, corporate fleet drivers, truckers, and others in similar occupations and can help all drivers be alert behind the wheel and take action to avoid the dangers of drowsy driving.
Awake at the Wheel is available immediately and can be purchased by visiting www.awakeatthewheel.com. In addition, Web site browsers can download an audio clip of the CD and learn more about the drowsy driving problem.
Modern society operates around the clock. "But this 24-hour requirement challenges the human brain and body by degrading the quantity and quality of sleep, disrupting the body clock and creating fatigue," Dr. Rosekind said. "These factors take a toll on alertness, performance, productivity and safety. Society pays a high price for fatigue-related accidents, which take both a financial and an emotional toll on individuals and companies."
About Alertness Solutions
Alertness Solutions, based in Cupertino, Calif., is a scientific consulting firm that specializes in the development of alertness management products and services. Founded in 1997, the firm has helped numerous companies and organizations implement alertness management activities in a variety of 24/7 settings, including transportation. Dr. Mark Rosekind, founder and president, previously was a NASA scientist specializing in fatigue countermeasures and a sleep researcher at Stanford University. For more information about Alertness Solutions, visit www.alertness-solutions.com.