Drowsy Driving: A Health Promotion Teaching Tool Proposal
This paper is a proposal for a health promotion teaching tool to raise awareness of the dangers of drowsy driving and to provide some tips and hints to help people reduce their risk and increase their safety while driving. The target audience is primarily the status post motor vehicle accident patient recovering as an inpatient on the medical/surgical unit of New London Hospital. However, there may be a useful spill-over effect and this tool could also be used by families and visitors to the Medical Surgical unit. The tool would be available on the medical/surgical unit of the hospital in the form of a tri-fold color pamphlet, placed in a hallway between the patient rooms and the rehabilitation gym. The expected outcome is that after picking up and reading the tool, patients would be more aware of the risks and hazards of drowsy driving and make choices to reduce their risk and increase their personal safety when driving.
In the past several decades, our society has grown from a ‘one for the road’ attitude to a zero tolerance approach to driving while intoxicated. A quick look at the evening news shows us that many different states considering measures to prevent texting while driving, and ‘distracted driving’ is now a phase in common use. We understand the dangers of driving under the influence, texting while driving and distracted driving; however, drowsy driving continues to be a problem on our roads.
Between 1998 and 2008, 16.5% of fatal car accidents in the US involved a drowsy driver, and 13% of non-fatal accidents where at least one person was admitted to the hospital involved a drowsy driver (Tefft, 2012). 8.5% of adults who usually get 6 or less hours of sleep per night reported that they had fallen asleep while driving in the past 30 days, while an additional 5.2% of adults admit to both sleeping and snoring behind the wheel. (Centers for Disease Control, 2014).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that driver fatigue is responsible for more than $12.5 billion dollars in losses, over 70,000 injuries and more than 1550 deaths each year (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, n.d.). These figures may in fact be low because they rely on self reporting of drowsy driving. One study showed a significant difference between subjective and objective measures of sleepiness while driving. Shift workers self reported sleepiness while driving on a scale of 1-10, while ocular measures such as blink frequency and blink length showed a far greater measure of fatigue than the subjective data would expect. (Ftouni, et al., 2013)
Healthy People 2020 set target goals to “Prevent unintentional injuries and violence, and reduce their consequences” (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2013). Among these goals are IVP-1 to reduce hospitalizations for non-fatal...