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Staying Safe: Drowsy Drivers

Staying Safe: Drowsy Drivers

Posted - Dec. 15, 2004 at 9:47 p.m.



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Nadine Wimmer, reporting It's final's week for thousands of Utah's college students. Pulling all of those late niters tends to create a lot of drowsy driver.

There is evidence, even on our own staff. U of U student, here's the parking sticker. She's pulling late niters: Class in the day, working here at night.

If you're a student or you have one in your house, here's an eye opener to stay safe.

Finals weeks leaves many students pulling all niters.

Phillip Broadbent, Student: “It's certainly late nights, trying to get as many hours in studying as possible."

Logan Sisim, Student: “I get very limited sleep, maybe two hours a day the last two weeks."

Unfortunately, a lot of these kids are so tired, the library's not the only place where they're falling asleep."

Nathan Pickett, Student: “Next thing I knew, I was waking up and my truck was going off the road, I felt the vibrations of the rivets in the road. "

Weber State student Nathan Pickett found out the hard way. Full time work, and studying for finals left him so tired, he fell asleep while driving down I-80.

Nathan Pickett, Student: "All I could hear was the glass sound, crashing metal, it happened, I rolled six or seven times."

We've heard a lot about drunk driving. But drowsy driving looks a lot the same.

The Highway Patrol uses a video to prove the point. It shows sleep deprived people trying to drive a test course. Some had been up more than 30 hours, others getting little shut eye all week. The sleepy drivers, like the drunks, knock down cones and weave across the lines.

When it comes to fatal crashes on Utah roads last year, those from drowsy driving more than double DUI fatalities.

Troy Tait, Med One: : “There's more of them on the road. So in reality, they're just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than drunk drivers."

Several public safety groups have launched a campaign to make college students and the rest of us realize the risks of driving when we're tired.

Nathan Pickett, Student: “Just this one time, I thought I could handle it, that my eyes started to close, that's the one time I risked being killed, I put my life in danger.”

The safety warning here: If you're tired and you find your eyes getting heavy, pull over and take a quick nap. Always wear your seat belt. That's why our college student is still here to talk about his crash.

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