The American Trucking Assns. has launched a highway safety campaign to help motorists safely navigate through the holiday season.
The campaign is based on information gained in the ATA's examination of driver fatigue and alertness issues in its effort to reform federal truck driver hours-of-service rules.
Federal safety officials say that fatigue or drowsiness is cited as a cause in more than 56,000 crashes a year. Drivers of passenger vehicles are involved in 95.9% of those crashes.
The ATA campaign features a radio public service announcement on driver alertness and fatigue prevention from a Captain of America's Road Team, a team of 12 accident-free professional truck drivers.
Motorists are urged to watch for the danger signs of drowsiness, including:
• Your eyes close or go out of focus by themselves, you have trouble keeping your head up.
• You have wandering, disconnected thoughts.
• You don't remember driving the last few miles or you missed your exit.
• You keep drifting out of your lane, and your speed becomes variable.
To be as safe as possible, says the Road Team, drivers should be aware of their own body clock and take extra care if they have to drive during the periods when they are likely to be most drowsy. Some truck driver tips to help stay alert:
• If possible, take a nap before a trip.
• The instant you become drowsy, stop in a safe place, take a nap.
• Schedule a break every two hours or 100 miles — sooner if needed. Stretch; take a walk; safety check your car; get some exercise before getting back behind the wheel.