Drowsy Driving

Sleep related crashes are most common in young people, especially men, adults with children and shift workers. According to the NSF's 2002 poll:

  • Adults between 18-29 are much more likely to drive while drowsy compared to other age groups (71% vs. 30-64, 52% vs. 65+, 19%).
  • Men are more likely than women to drive while drowsy (56% vs. 45%) and are almost twice as likely as women to fall asleep while driving (22% vs. 12%).
  • Adults with children in the household are more likely to drive drowsy than those without children (59% vs. 45%).
  • Shift workers are more likely than those who work a regular daytime schedule to drive to or from work drowsy at least a few days a month (36% vs. 25%).
  • Sleep deprivation increases the risk of a sleep-related crash; the less people sleep, the greater the risk.
  • According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in such a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more, while people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk four to five times.
  • A study by researchers in Australia showed that being awake for 18 hours produced impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05, and .10 after 24 hours; .08 is considered legally drunk.
  • Other research indicates commercial drivers and people with undiagnosed sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and acute insomnia are also at greater risk for fall-asleep crashes.

Nearly three-quarters of adults in America (71%) drive a car to and from work, and many are drowsy drivers, according to NSF's 2001 Sleep in America poll. More than one-fourth of these respondents (27%) said they have driven drowsy to or from work at least a few days a month, 12 percent drove drowsy a few days a week, and four percent said they drove drowsy every day or almost every day.

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