As we make the change back to daylight savings time, a Drowsy Driving Prevention event will be held at Stony Brook on Monday, March 11, to help raise awareness about the dangers of drowsy driving and highlight the unique curriculum developed by faculty sleep experts from the Stony Brook University School of Health Technology and Management (SHTM).
The Stony Brook event — which will be held at 11 am in the Student Activities Center, Ballroom B — is the kick off for two similar programs that will be held at SUNY Albany and SUNY Buffalo. It is free to attend and open to the public.
“There is a national trend to raise awareness and educate the public on the effects of drowsy driving,” said Russell Rozensky, Director of the Stony Brook University Polysomnographic Technology Program. “Some people don’t give it a second thought, however it is quickly becoming a major health crisis.”
The Drowsy Driving Prevention curriculum targets young adults, a high-risk group for sleep deprivation, especially surrounding the daylight saving time adjustment. Daylight savings time is meant to provide a reprieve from the long hours of darkness. However, the “spring-forward” clock change is associated with a loss of one hour of sleep and residual effects on sleep schedules. Sleep deprivation has consequences to overall health and increases risk for driving drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel.
The program will include representatives from the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Injury Prevention, and the Governors Traffic Safety Association, who will speak on the issue of drowsy driving. Faculty sleep experts from the SHTM Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development will discuss data collected on drowsy driving among SBU students and promote the engagement of the Prevention of Drowsy Driving Curriculum. A victim advocate will speak about a personal tragedy related to drowsy driving. Finally, a representative from the National Road Safety Foundation will announce the student winners of its Drowsy Driving PSA contest.
About the Polysomnographic Technology Program
Stony Brook’s Polysomnographic Technology Program is the only entry-level BS program in the country, and the only program on Long Island. During the past several years, the program has been involved in research related to drowsy driving and educational programs about sleep-deprivation-associated automobile crashes.
Data shows that most people are unaware that being awake for 18 hours has the same effect on your driving as a blood alcohol level of .05, and being awake 24 hours (like students do for midterms and finals) has the equivalency of a blood alcohol level of .10.
Stony Brook faculty are involved at the national, state and local levels in various sleep educational programs. They are considered experts in their fields and collaborate with other faculty to expand and enhance their research.