The first week of September each year will be “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week” in Florida, thanks to the passing of House Bill 971, according to the WCTV news website. Governor Charlie Crist signed the bill into law this month, making Florida the 18th state to mandate drowsy driving education. The bill includes a number of highway safety reforms and changes to motor vehicle laws, including the admendment that establishes the first week of September as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. How exactly will the week be carried out? The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Department of Transportation will join forces in educating the public (as well as law enforcement officers) on the danger of drowsy driving. If the efforts are carried out as planned, Florida drivers should be aware of the research proving that drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. In other words, fatigue negatively affects driver performance just as much as alchol does.

Also referred to as the RonShay Dugans Act, the admendment was written partly in response to the tragic loss of an 8-year-old girl in a 2008 auto accident caused by a fatigued driver. Representative Alan Williams worked with the family of RonShay Dugans to sponsor the drowsy driving admendment, which aims to reduce the number of Florida wrecks caused by drowsy driving. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving is responsible for approximately 100,000 auto accidents per year. Joining the effort to reduce Florida’s high number of crashes caused by fatigue, Florida DOT Secretary Stephanie C. Kopelousos explains, “Our message is very simple: Don’t drive drowsy.”

As a car accident lawyer in Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward County, David Benenfeld represents victims of Miami, Palm Beach, and Ft. Lauderdale accidents caused by drowsy driving. If you would like free resources, advice, or answers to questions regarding your Florida car accident, feel free to contact David Benenfeld or request a free copy of his auto accident book.