Drowsy Driving

AAA Studies Drowsy Driving

More than one-fifth of fatal motor vehicle crashes involved drowsy drivers according to a new study by the American Automobile Association. The study looked at data from a representative sample of 14,268 crashes between 2009 and 2013 and determined that an average of 6,400 people are killed in 328,000 drowsy driving crashes per year.

Among their findings, the study determined that drowsy driving caused:

  • 6% of all crashes in which a vehicle was towed from the scene;
  • 7% of crashes in which a person received treatment for injuries sustained in the crash;
  • 13% of crashes in which a person was hospitalized and;
  • 21% of crashes in which a person was killed.

Sleep deprived nation

America is a sleep deprived nation. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of Americans have driven while feeling sleepy and 37% admit to actually having fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year.

A recent National Geographic TV special explained that sleep serves a necessary biological function and serves to clear toxic chemicals from the brain. One toxic substance that is known to be cleared out during sleep is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and it’s thought that not getting enough sleep could lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

According to National Geographic, having a sleep deficit is like having an overdraft at the bank. If you sleep only six hours a night on weeknights and try to make it up by sleeping two extra hours on Saturday, you still have a sleep deficit of eight hours remaining. That has to be paid back somehow and, unfortunately, it’s often paid back behind the wheel.

Getting a full night’s sleep is critical, not only for safe driving but also for our overall health. For tips on getting a full night’s sleep, visit: Sleep tools and tips