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Study Shows Driving while Drowsy is Dangerous

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, over 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 time more likely than alternative types of drowsy driver crashes. Thirteen percent or around one in every eight of 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.

* Those drivers under 25-years-old were 78% more likely to be drowsy than their counterparts over 40- years-old.

* Single 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 amount of drivers that are indifferent or complacent about driving safety; highway and roadway crashes and tragedy are seemingly acceptable and thought of as the price to be paid for enjoying the extensive mobility afforded to Americans. There doesn’t seem to be any consideration by drowsy drivers toward the fact that they are not only placing themselves at a risk, but putting every single person on American roadways and highways at risk too.

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 tired, don’t start driving and if driving tired, do whatever necessary to remove oneself from the roadway until rest is obtained.

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