Less Sleep Associated with Increased Risk of Crashes for Young Drivers

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May 29, 2013

A study by Alexandra L. C. Martiniuk, MSc, PhD, of the George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, Australia suggest inadequate sleep is associated with a significant increase in the risk for drowsy driving and motor vehicle crashes for young drivers.

The study had 19,327 newly licensed drivers from 17-to-24-years-old respond to a questionnaire. These new drivers held a first-stage provisional license between June 2003 and December 2004. Researchers also analyzed licensing and police-reported crash data with an average of two years of follow up.

On average, individuals who reported sleeping six or fewer hours per night had an increased risk for crashes compared to those who reported sleeping more than six hours. Inadequate sleep on the weekends was also significantly associated with an increased risk for crashes. These crashes were most likely to occur between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.