Drowsy Driving Crashes Higher Than Federal Estimates

Sunbury News Staff Reports

COLUMBUS (February 8, 2018) – The percentage of crashes involving drowsy driving is nearly eight times higher than federal estimates, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

“Drowsy driving is a bigger traffic safety issue than federal estimates show,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Drivers who don’t get enough sleep are putting everyone on the road at risk.”

The difficulty in detecting drowsiness following a crash makes drowsy driving one of the most underreported traffic safety issues.

Study Details:

The AAA Foundation’s Prevalence of Drowsy Driving Crashes: Estimates from a Large-Scale Naturalistic Driving Study, is the most in-depth drowsy driving research ever conducted in the U.S.

In this study, researchers used in-vehicle dash cam videos to examine drivers’ faces in the three minutes leading up to more than 700 crashes. The scientific analysis found 9.5 percent of all crashes and 10.8 percent of crashes resulting in significant property damage involve drowsiness – compared to federal estimates, which indicate drowsiness is a factor in just 1- to-2 percent of crashes.

Sleep Deprivation and Driving:

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says 35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended minimum of seven hours daily.

“As many Americans struggle to balance their busy schedules, missing a few hours of sleep each day can often seem harmless,” said Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA. “But, missing just two- to-three hours of sleep can more than quadruple your risk for a crash, which is the equivalent of driving drunk.”

Nearly all drivers (96 percent) view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and completely unacceptable, according to a recent AAA Foundation survey. However, 29 percent admitted to driving when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at some point in the past month.

Preventing Drowsy Driving Crashes:

Knowing the warning signs of drowsiness can help drivers avoid dozing off behind the wheel. The most common symptoms include:

  • Having trouble keeping your eyes open
  • Drifting from your lane
  • Not remembering the last few miles driven
  • In addition to knowing the warning signs AAA recommends drivers:
  • Travel at times of the day when they are normally awake
  • Avoid heavy foods before driving
  • Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment. (Visit AAA.com/RoadwiseRX for a free and confidential online tool that generates feedback about how medications and supplements can affect safety behind the wheel.)
  • Schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles
  • Travel with an alert passenger and take turns driving on road trips

Don’t underestimate the power of a quick nap. Pulling into a rest stop and taking a quick catnap – at least 20 minutes, but no more than 30 minutes – can help keep you alert.

“Don’t be fooled, the only antidote for drowsiness is sleep,” said William Van Tassel, manager of Driver Training for AAA. “Short term tactics like drinking coffee, singing, rolling down the window will now work. Your body’s need for sleep will eventually override your brain’s attempts to stay awake.”

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit [www.AAAFoundation.org]AAAFoundation.org.

About AAA: As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel-, insurance-, financial- and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited online at AAA.com.

Ohio ranks 26th in the nation in highway performance and cost-effectiveness in the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation.

Ohio ranks 18th in fatality rate, 20th in deficient bridges, 28th in rural Interstate pavement condition, 27th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 23rd in urbanized area congestion.

On spending, Ohio ranks 34th in total disbursements per mile and 36th in administrative disbursements per mile.

Ohio’s best rankings are rural arterial pavement condition (17th), fatality rate (18th) and deficient bridges (20th).

Ohio’s worst rankings are capital-bridge disbursements per mile (38th) and administrative disbursements per mile (36th).

Ohio’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 9th largest system.

Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report utilizes data states report to the federal government to track the performance of state-owned highway systems in 11 categories, including highway spending per mile, rural and urban pavement condition, deficient bridges, traffic congestion, and fatality rates.

For more information on Ohio’s results, please visit:

Ohio Ranks 26th Overall in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

The full report, featuring detailed explanations for each category, is available here:

https://reason.org/policy_study/23rd-annual-highway-report/ (html)

https://reason.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/23rd_annual_highway_report.pdf (pdf)


Reason Foundation is a libertarian think tank based in Los Angeles. Reason’s transportation experts have advised five presidential administrations and numerous state and local transportation departments.

America’s Nürburgring: Spring Mountain Motor Resort

The Red, White, and Blue Hell

By: Jonathon Klein January 28, 2018

Associate Editor, Automobile Magazine

Germany’s Nürburgring has for decades seen company after company chase blistering lap times to prove its product is the quickest in the world.

Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Koenigsegg routinely take cracks at besting the renowned track and each other. Records fall as supercars get better and more like their racing counterparts. Now, Spring Mountain Motor Resort an hour outside Las Vegas is devouring land in an attempt to soon rival Germany’s torture test.

Built by motorsports-lovers John Morris and Brad Rambo, the track Koenigsegg used as its base camp during its on-road record runs was founded in 2004. The idea was to not only create a place where the proprietors could unleash their own cars without worry but also to create a world-class facility that would attract likeminded enthusiasts to its circuit layout and beautiful backdrop.

As beautiful as a desert rose to track rats, the Spring Mountain Motor Resort has a massive expansion in its future.

Spring Mountain’s track measures an impressive 6.1 miles when all of its layouts are connected to each other. However, the plan—already in the construction phase—is to expand much more, incorporating turns and designs from some of the best circuits around the world and increasing the total track distance to 14.5 miles. When completed, that length will pit it squarely against Germany’s 12.9-mile Nordschleife.

Spring Mountain’s plan—already in the construction phase—is to expand, increasing the total track distance to 14.5 miles.

When asked why, Morris laughs and says, “Why not?” That’s a lot different than the original concept, which was to purchase a piece of land by the side of Nevada’s State Route 160 to “build a small racetrack for ourselves and have some fun.” But that narrowly focused dream quickly evolved into the massive expansion project Morris and Rambo—effectively the project’s only financiers—now envision.

Upon completion, Spring Mountain will be the planet’s largest race facility, including an off-road portion, kart track, and a straight long enough to land a small Gulfstream aircraft. The plan also calls for amenities to rival any track in the world. Along with growing the overall length, development ideas for the surrounding area include a new hotel, casino, mall, cinema, housing development to support the expanding population, and a 24-hour Starbucks on the recently purchased 630 acres bought through Nevada’s Bureau of Land Management.

“It’s going to be really interesting watching the community grow and see the impact of the track,” Morris says.

Where Do You Go When You Die? The Increasing Signs That Human Consciousness Remains After Death

By Kastalia Medrano On 2/10/18 at 8:00 AM


Clinically, we understand death to mean the state that takes hold after our hearts stop beating. Blood circulation comes to a halt, we don’t breathe, our brains shut down—and that’s what divides the states we occupy from one moment (alive) to the next (dead). Philosophically, though, our definition of death hinges on something else: the point past which we’re no longer able to return. Those two were more or less the same until about 50 years ago, when we saw the advent of CPR. Today, someone’s heart can stop and they can be dead, and then they can come back.

Modern resuscitation was a game-changer for emergency care, but it also blew apart our understanding of what it means to be dead. Without many people returning from the dead to show us otherwise, it was natural to assume, from a scientific perspective, that our consciousness dies at the same time as our bodies. Over the last few years, though, scientists have seen repeated evidence that once you die, your brain cells take days, potentially longer, to reach the point past which they’ve degraded too far to ever be viable again. This does not mean you’re not dead; you are dead. Your brain cells, however, may not be.

“What’s fascinating is that there is a time, only after you and I die, that the cells inside our bodies start to gradually go toward their own process of death,” Dr. Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at New York University Langone Medical Center, told Newsweek. “I’m not saying the brain still works, or any part of you still works once you’ve died. But the cells don’t instantly switch from alive to dead. Actually, the cells are much more resilient to the heart stopping—to the person dying—than we used to understand.”

Scientists working on human cadavers have from time to time observed genes that are active after death, according to University of Washington microbiology professor Peter Noble. For a 2017 study published in Open Biology, Noble and his colleagues tested mice and zebrafish and found not just a handful, but a combined total of 1,063 genes that remained active, in some cases for up to four days after the subject had died. Not only did their activity not dissipate—it spiked.

“We didn’t anticipate that,” Noble told Newsweek. “Can you imagine, 24 hours after [time of death] you take a sample and the transcripts of the genes are actually increasing in abundance? That was a surprise.”

Quite a few of these are developmental genes, Noble said, raising the fascinating and slightly disturbing possibility that in the period immediately following death, our bodies start reverting to the cellular conditions that were present when we were embryos. Noble found that certain animals’ cells, postmortem, remained viable for weeks. The research suggests a “step-wise shutdown,” by which parts of us die gradually, at different rates, rather than all at once.

Exactly why some cells are more resilient to death than others can’t yet be said. In a 2016 study published in the Canadian Journal of Biological Sciences, doctors recounted shutting off life support for four terminally ill patients, only to have one of the patients continue emitting delta wave bursts—the measurable electrical activity in the brain we normally experience during deep sleep—for more than 10 minutes after the patient had been pronounced dead; no pupil dilation, no pulse, no heartbeat. The authors were at a loss for a physiological explanation.

Parnia’s research has shown that people who survive medical death frequently report experiences that share similar themes: bright lights; benevolent guiding figures; relief from physical pain and a deeply felt sensation of peace. Because those experiences are subjective, it’s possible to chalk them up to hallucinations. Where that explanation fails, though, is among the patients who have died on an operating table or crash cart and reported watching—from a corner of the room, from above—as doctors tried to save them, accounts subsequently verified by the (very perplexed) doctors themselves.

How these patients were able to describe objective events that took place while they were dead, we’re not exactly sure, just as we’re not exactly sure why certain parts of us appear to withstand death even as it takes hold of everything else. But it does seem to suggest that when our brains and bodies die, our consciousness may not, or at least not right away.

“I don’t mean that people have their eyes open or that their brain’s working after they die,” Parnia said. “That petrifies people. I’m saying we have a consciousness that makes up who we are—our selves, thoughts, feelings, emotions—and that entity, it seems, does not become annihilated just because we’ve crossed the threshold of death; it appears to keep functioning and not dissipate. How long it lingers, we can’t say.”


Sunbury News Staff Reports