PennDOT, Area Businesses Urge Against Driving Drowsy

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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and various eateries around the northwest region will stress the dangers of drowsy driving and urge motorists to get enough sleep during their “Donut Drive Drowsy” campaign on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 and Wednesday, November 10, 2021.

The two-day initiative occurs during Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, which kicked off with the end of daylight savings time on Sunday, November 7, 2021 and runs through Saturday, November 14, 2021.

According to PennDOT data, there were 1,881 crashes last year involving a driver who was fatigued or asleep statewide, resulting in 11 fatalities. The northwest region recorded 86 drowsy driver crashes, 40 of which resulted in injuries.

Driving while fatigued has similar effects as driving under the influence of alcohol. Being awake for 18 hours impairs a driver’s ability about as much as a blood-alcohol level of .05 percent. Being awake for 24 consecutive hours impairs driving ability as much as having a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 percent, which is above the legal limit.

“Getting enough sleep is not always easy due to the busy nature of our lives, but it is a critical factor in making sure you can operate a vehicle safely,” said PennDOT District 1 Executive Brian McNulty, P.E. “We appreciate the support of area businesses helping spread the word about the importance of never getting behind the wheel drowsy.”

Customers who visit the participating locations listed and present evidence of getting at least seven hours of sleep the night before will be offered a free pastry.

Businesses participating on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 include:

  • Erie County – Tipsy Bean, 2425 Peach Street, Erie, PA 16502;
  • Forest County – The Bear Claw Café,307 Elm Street, Tionesta, PA 16353;
  • Venango County – Clark’s Donuts Plus,3486 State Route 257, Seneca, PA 16346; and
  •  Warren County – The Arbor Coffee House Café & Tea Room,340 Pennsylvania Avenue W, Warren, PA 16365.

The following locations are participating on Wednesday, November 10, 2021:

  • Crawford County – French Creek Coffee and Tea, LLC,285 Chestnut Street, Meadville, PA 16335; and
  • Venango County – Karma Coffee Company, 237 Seneca Street, Oil City, PA 16301.

Most fitness trackers have a function that tracks a user’s sleep, and staff may ask to see your tracking app to verify your sleep. Please have it open when you approach the counter.

The partnering businesses will also distribute PennDOT literature on the dangers of drowsy driving and the warning signs a driver should be on the lookout for, including:

  • Having trouble keeping your eyes open and focused;
  • The inability to keep your head up;
  • Daydreaming or having wandering, disconnected thoughts;
  • Drifting from your lane or off the road, or tailgating;
  • Yawning frequently or rubbing your eyes repeatedly;
  • Missing signs or driving past your intended turn or exit;
  • Feeling irritable or restless; and
  • Being unable to remember how far you have traveled, or landmarks you have passed.

For more information on the dangers and consequences of drowsy driving, visit www.PennDOT.gov/Safety.