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Report Shows Many Americans Drive While Drowsy

I confess to having done this more than once. I was hoping I was the only one, but apparently not. A recent report from the federal government reveals that more than 4% of drivers quizzed said they had driven while drowsy in the month before the survey. I suspect more had, but didn’t want to admit it.

We are a sleep-deprived nation. This hurts us, believe me I know, in many ways. But it can hurt not only ourselves, but others when we drive drowsy. It’s almost as bad as driving drunk, so please try to avoid doing it. Oddly, Texas leads the nation in drowsy driving. Here are excerpts from an article in the HealthDay section of U.S. News detailing the report:

Federal statistics state that 2.5 percent of fatal motor vehicle crashes and 2 percent of crashes with non-fatal injuries involve drowsy driving.

But, data gathering methods make it difficult to estimate the actual number of accidents that involve drowsy drivers. In fact, some studies have estimated that between 15 percent and 33 percent of fatal crashes may involve sleepy drivers. And deaths and injuries are more likely in motor vehicle crashes that involve drowsy driving, the report stated.

The report was published in the Jan. 4 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In the study, researchers found that people who slept six hours or less were about twice as likely to report falling asleep while driving as those who got seven or more hours of sleep.

In 2009, approximately 30,000 people were involved in car crashes due to drowsy driving and 730 died, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Drowsy driving also varied state-to-state, from a low of 2.5 percent in Oregon to a high of 6.1 percent in Texas, the report found.

The best way to prevent drowsy driving is to get at least seven hours of sleep. And people with a sleep disorder should seek treatment, the CDC said.

The agency also recommends not drinking alcohol or taking sedatives before sliding into the driver’s seat.

More information:

For more on driving while drowsy visit the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

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