The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) has held its annual Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

In partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Trucking Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group, the event aims to educate the public on drowsy driving prevention on Florida’s roads in honor of Ronshay Dugans, who was tragically killed by a drowsy driver in 2008.

“Drowsy driving poses more of a threat than most realize,” said FLHSMV Executive Director, Terry L Rhodes.

“Missing just a couple hours of sleep can significantly increase a driver’s crash risk, putting the lives of those on our roadways in danger. No matter how far your destination may be, driving drowsy is never worth the risk.”

FLHSMV estimates that 3,991 reported crashes in Florida involved drowsy drivers last year.

Throughout September, FLHSMV is urging drivers to safely pull off the road and take a break if they are having difficulty focusing, yawning repeatedly, or drifting into other lanes.

On September 5, 2008, 8-year-old Ronshay Dugans lost her life after a cement truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit the school bus she was riding. Florida’s Ronshay Dugans Act was established in 2010 by the Florida Legislature, recognizing the first week in September as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week in her honor.

FLHSMV offers the following safety tips for all motorists to prevent drowsy driving:

  • Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
  • On long trips, take a break every 100 miles or two hours.
  • If you start feeling tired while driving, pull over in a safe place and take a nap if you can.
  • Use the “buddy system” and switch drivers when needed.
  • Read the warning information on all medications you take. Do not operate a motor vehicle after taking medications which cause drowsiness.