Tag teen crash rates

10 Tips to Prevent a Road Death This Weekend

A Fourth of July fireworks display at the Wash...

A Fourth of July fireworks display at the Washington Monument. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Busiest Driving Day of the Year

According to the American Automobile Association, this Independence Day holiday period, from July 2nd  to July 5th, approximately 45 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home.

Deadliest Day of the Year

Stay Alert. Stay Focused.

Historically speaking, one of the worst days for traffic fatalities is July 4. An analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that July 4 has been the deadliest day on the road in recent years. The institute looked at accident statistics from 2004 to 2008 and found that on average, 148 people died in motor vehicle crashes on July 4, more than on any other day.

English: An advisory sign on Interstate 15 in ...

An advisory sign on Interstate 15 in Utah near Mt. Nebo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Drowsiness, Drunk Driving, & Distractions Kill

Here are my 10 tips to prevent a death this weekend. Please share these tips freely and it might just save an innocent life. Please remember that turning on the radio, stretching your neck, putting a fan on high, putting your face out of window, slapping your face, or pushing a sharp pin in your thigh does not work.

  1. Certainly before a long trip, plan and get a good night’s sleep.
  2. Avoid driving from midnight to six o’clock in the morning.
  3. Be extra careful while driving around mid-afternoon.
  4. Do not drive after an overnight flight.
  5. Take a break at least every two hours.
  6. Take a power nap in anticipation of sleepiness.
  7. Remember that a cup of coffee can be lifesaving.
  8. Do not drive if you have untreated sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs, shift work sleep disorder, or narcolepsy.
  9. If your thoughts become dreamy, your eyelids feel heavy, or traffic signs do not mean much pull over. You are about to die!
  10. Keep your eyes on the road and away from the iPhone.
  11. Do not drive drunk.

Watch my interview with Gary Sieber discussing drowsy driving tips.

How Does Drowsy Driving Kill?

On the very first day of my internship in this country, I did an initial evaluation of a female executive, who the paramedics had brought to the ER of Englewood Hospital Medical Center in Englewood, New Jersey. She was a restrained driver of a Volvo that ran off the road and into a tree on that cloudy afternoon on a drive back to her home in Englewood Cliffs from Newark Airport after a long transcontinental flight. Even though her car was totaled, she fortunately suffered only minor chest contusion. What struck me though was her answer when I asked her what had happened. “I just don’t know.”And that is the commonest answer I have heard during my twenty years of pulmonary practice while evaluating and treating survivors of motor vehicular accidents. I was baffled with that answer until I started my sleep medicine fellowship and learned about micro-sleeps and lack of situational awareness resulting from sleep deprivation.

Micro-sleeps are fatal. 

Micro sleeps, three to fourteen seconds of sleep activity seen on electroencephalographic recordings (brain waves) of awake individuals, cause uncontrollable sleep attacks without any warning in people with both acute and chronic sleep deprivation.

Loss of situational awareness kills too.

The other dangerous phenomenon seen in sleep-deprived leaders is the loss of situational awareness. With this deficit, the person loses awareness of the surrounding. Is the road ahead curving? Is there a reduced speed limit ahead? Is the car in the front braking? Are the driving conditions dangerous?

Beware of impaired decision-making too.

When sleep deprived, your decision-making is impaired such that you may take a left turn when you would have waited. Or you may pass a truck on a curvy road, which you would not have done when rested. You may choose to text back while driving, which you would not have done if you were not sleep deprived. Under our public awareness campaign,

Spread the Word. Save a Life. Please share this blog with your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. God bless you.

Is It Typical Teenage Behavior — Or A Sleep Disorder? -Dr. Rosenberg on Huff Post

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...

Image via Wikipedia


Are you constantly dragging your son or daughter out of the bed? The symptoms of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome include:

Inability to Fall Asleep Before 2 or 3 a.m. Many individuals with DSPS first believe they are insomniacs. For teenagers, the inability to initiate sleep at conventional hours may be exacerbated by social pressure to communicate throughout the night via cell phones or computers.

Inability to Wake Up On Time for School or Work. While most people do not jump out of bed each morning when their alarm goes off, a person with DSPS will often sleep through multiple alarms and be very difficult to arouse even if given substantial incentives to do so.

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness. A common complaint of DSPS is the overwhelming feeling of sleepiness in the morning and up to the early afternoon. Sleeping during morning classes is a common sign. 

Depression and Drug Abuse. Children and teenagers with DSPS are more likely to experience depression and other behavioral problems.

If you believe your son or daughter has DSPS, contact your family doctor or a sleep specialist. Most sleep specialists will suggest keeping a sleep diary, allowing both the doctor and the patient to gain a quick, clear understanding of sleep-wake patterns. A sleep study is not required to make the diagnosis.

Once diagnosed with DSPS, treatment options may include:

Light Therapy. Exposure to a bright light will help naturally reset your child’s internal clock and advance the circadian rhythm. Sitting in a sunlit room or taking a walk in the morning is effective. However, that might not be practical given the sunrise schedule and/or weather conditions. There are several good commercially available light boxes, also used for treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Physicians most often recommend turning on the light box for around 30 minutes in the morning. The production of sleep regulator melatonin is inhibited by light, helping your child wake up earlier and on time.

Schedule Adjustment. Depending on your child’s natural sleep rhythm, DSPS may be controlled by slight, incremental changes in bed time. If your child normally falls asleep around 1 am when he or she needs to be asleep by 11, set the bedtime to 12:45 one night, 12:30 the next night, and so on until the child is naturally falling asleep by the target time. For children who fall asleep too early, the same practice can be followed by setting the bedtime 15 minutes ahead each night.

Good Sleep Hygiene. The most important part of restful, healthy sleep is a consistent sleep-wake routine. Those at risk of or with DSPS should adopt a regimented sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Limit the child’s exposure to stimulants such as caffeine and sugar as well. In the bedroom, try to keep it as cool and quiet as possible. Limit their exposure to sensory-awakening activities like television and video games in the evening.

Medication. There are no FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of DSPS. A sleep doctor may recommend a low dose of melatonin to be given in late afternoon or early evening in addition to bright light exposure.

As your son or daughter continues to develop, he or she will most likely outgrow DSPS. However, it is important to treat the condition, once diagnosed, to ensure that your child is receiving the proper amount of rest throughout all developmental stages. Teenagers needs 8-9 hours of sleep each night.

More at Huffington Post Russell Rosenberg, Ph.D: Is It Typical Teenage Behavior — Or A Sleep Disorder?

Delay School Start Time & Save a Teen

Both my teenage daughters, responsible teens and smart students with a ton of extracurricular activities, had serious car crashes with significant damage to the vehicle. But with God’s grace, they both survived these crashes.  Not every teen is that fortunate. In 2008, a huge number of teens (6,428) died as a result of vehicular accidents in USA according to Department of Motor Vehicles, California. What can we do to eliminate this? Can later school start time help?

Looking for an answer,  Dr. Robert Daniel Vorona and his colleagues at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA analyzed crash test data for two neighboring cities in Virginia, VB (earlier start times by 75-80 minutes) and Chesapeake and published their findings in this month’s Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. They found that VB teens had significantly higher crash rates than Chesapeake as shown in the following graph.

How can we achieve a later start time for our teens?

For VB and Chesapeake, teen drivers’ crash rates in 2008 were 65.8/1000 and 46.6/1000 (p < 0.001), respectively, and in 2007 were 71.2/1000 and 55.6/1000. Congestion data for VB and Chesapeake did not explain the different crash rates.  

Want to delay school start time in your community? National Sleep Foundation has a few tips here to help you get started.  

Do you have suggestions on how to convince schools to change the school start time? Do you have a story to tell? Let us work together and save a teen.

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