New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that drowsy driving is involved in more than one in five fatal crashes on U.S. roadways each year.
Notes David Yang, Ph.D, Executive director of the AAA Foundation, “You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel. Our new research shows that a driver who has slept for less than 5 hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk.”
Drivers who missed 2 to 3 hours of sleep more than quadrupled the risk of a crash. The research also found that over a 24-hour period, the crash risk for sleep-deprived drivers increased steadily, compared to that of drivers who slept 7 or more hours.
Drivers seem to know the perils of taking the wheel while sleepy. While 97 percent told the AAA Foundation they view drowsy driving as completely unacceptable and a serious threat to their safety, nearly one in three admit to driving at least once in the past month when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open.
Signs of drowsy driving include drifting from lanes and not remembering the last few miles driven. Especially scary is the fact that more than half of drivers involved in fatigue-related crashes experienced no symptoms before falling asleep behind the wheel.