In 2008, eight-year old Ronshay Dugans lost her life after a cement truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit the school bus in which she was traveling. Florida’s Ronshay Dugans Act was established in 2010 and recognizes the first week in September as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week in her honor.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is leading the Drowsy Driving Prevention Week campaign to remind motorists to get adequate rest before getting behind the wheel, take breaks to remain alert, and never drive drowsy.
“Getting adequate rest before getting behind the wheel is the best way to drive safely,” said FLHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is a sobering reminder that falling asleep at the wheel has deadly consequences and is preventable. We urge all motorists to take responsibility and never drive drowsy.”
Throughout the campaign, FLHSMV will be 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. Fatigue slows thought processes and reaction time, affects judgement and vision, impairs the senses and abilities and can cause micro-sleeping (“nodding off”) or falling completely asleep, making it very dangerous to drive. In 2019, there were 3,700 drowsy driving crashes in Florida, which resulted in 224 injuries and 12 fatalities.
“Drowsy driving can be just as deadly as driving impaired or texting while driving,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “It is critical to take a break on long trips, pull into a rest area or seek lodging when you feel fatigued, change drivers to ensure you have adequate rest, and allow plenty of time to travel to your destination.”