Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® Highlights Prevalent and Preventable Accidents

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November 8, 2010

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Highlights Prevalent and Preventable Accidents

It's Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®, a National Sleep Foundation public awareness campaign to educate drivers about sleep safety. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a new study showing that the tragedy of drowsy driving is more pervasive than shown in previous estimates. Their study shows that drowsy driving involves about one in six deadly crashes; one in eight crashes resulting in occupant hospitalization, and one in fourteen crashes in which a vehicle was towed. These percentages are substantially higher than most previous estimates, suggesting that the contribution of drowsy driving to motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and deaths has not been fully appreciated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than 100,000 accidents each year. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analysis of the accidents resulting from drivers falling asleep behind the wheels is cause for alarm and concern. According to the study, younger drivers age 16-24 were nearly twice as likely to be involved in a drowsy driving crash as drivers age 40-59, and about 57 percent of drowsy driving crashes involved the driver drifting into other lanes or even off the road. The study also found that –

  • Vehicles in which the driver was accompanied by a passenger were nearly 50 percent less likely to be involved in a drowsy driving related crash.
  • More than half (55%) of those drivers who reported having fallen asleep while driving in the past year said that it occurred on a high-speed divided highway.
  • More than half (59%) of those drivers who reported having fallen asleep while driving in the past year said they had been driving for less than an hour before falling asleep; only one in five reported they had been driving for three hours or longer.
  • More than one in four drivers (26%) who reported having fallen asleep while driving in the past year reported that it had occurred between noon and 5 p.m.
  • Men (52%) were much more likely than women (30%) to report having ever fallen asleep while driving; men (14%) were also more likely than