Falling Asleep in Car

While there’s a national conversation about driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and the effects those have in traffic accidents and fatalities, we don’t often hear about driving under extreme fatigue. Truth is, driving while tired is dangerous, too.

According the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control, 2.0 percent of all crashes with non-fatal injuries and 2.5 percent of fatal injuries in car accidents resulted from drowsy driving in 2009. The study says that other numbers have seen statistics as high as 15 to 33 percent of fatal crashes coming as a result of drowsy driving.

Over a two-year study in 2009 and 2010, the CDC and NHTSA contacted nearly 150,000 respondents who answered their survey, all of whom were over the age of 18. In the study, respondents were asked if they had ever fallen asleep at the wheel within the past 30 days, if only briefly; 4.2 percent said they had. Men were more likely to answer affirmatively, 5.3 percent versus 3.2 percent, and senior citizens were known to fall asleep at the wheel less, contrary to popular belief.

Respondents came from 19 states and Washington D.C., and it was shown that adults who often slept for fewer than six hours per night were at a greater risk for passing out behind the wheel.

Automotive.com’s take: Sleep is good. Drowsy driving is bad. If you don’t feel you can drive comfortably, pull over at a rest stop and take a nap. It’s better to sleep in your car when it’s not moving than the pass out when it is, harming you and other drivers on the road. We’re surprised more people don’t exhibit a little more sense when it comes to fatigued driving.

Source: Centers for Disease Control (Full report)

By Jacob Brown

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