The Prevalence and Impact of Drowsy Driving, a brand new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, indicates that two in every five surveyed drivers admit that they have fallen asleep at some point in time while driving. Of those drivers responding in the survey, more than a quarter admitted being so sleepy as to have had difficulty keeping their eyes open during their past month of driving time.
The study was partly based on the responses that 2,000 Americans gave to telephone surveys. According to the responses, researchers found that one in ten drivers reported falling asleep in the past year of driving. The researchers pointed out that one of the biggest mistakes made by drivers is simply underestimating just how tired they really are and overestimating their capability of dealing with tiredness while driving.
Another portion of the analyzed data was derived from crash data that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collected during 2008 and 1999. From this data, researchers estimated that 16.5%, or around one in every six fatal road and highway crashes, involved someone driving while drowsy. More than half of all driving-while-drowsy accidents involved a single vehicle leaving its appropriate traveling lane. It further found that lane departure accidents were almost seven times more likely than other types of drowsy driver crashes. Thirteen percent, or around one in every eight road and highway vehicle crashes, required hospitalization. Other interesting statistics among crash-involved drivers include:
- Men were 61% more likely than women to have been drowsy.
- Drivers younger than 25-years-old were 78% more likely to be drowsy than their counterparts older than 40-years-old.
- Solo drivers were 81% more likely to have been drowsy than those with a passenger.
Researchers say that the main component is attitude, as there seems to be an overwhelming number of drivers who are indifferent or complacent about driving safety.
In relation to travel, experts suggest starting off early and getting a good night’s sleep instead of starting extended travel following a regular work day. Using common sense about driving and tiredness is also recommended. If you’re tired, don’t start driving. If you become tired while driving, do whatever necessary to remove yourself from the roadway.