AAA: Drowsy driving plays larger role in crashes than thought

09 February, 2018, 03:45 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • AAA put cameras in cars to see if drivers were falling asleep before losing control of their vehicles

Drowsy driving could be responsible for thousands more deaths on US roads every year than first thought.

Almost all drivers (96 percent) view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and completely unacceptable, according to a recent AAA Foundation survey.

"So it really comes back to trying to plan and give yourself enough time to get that sleep", said William Horrey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

"Experts have long regarded such statistics, derived from police reports based on post-crash investigations, as vast underestimates of the scope of the problem", the study says.

According to the report, 10 percent of all vehicle crashes are linked to driving while drowsy. Although it was never proven in court, prosecutors said sleep deprivation was the cause because the driver allegedly admitted to only getting five hours of sleep before the crash. New findings released by AAA confirms that the rate of drowsy driving may be up to eight times higher than earlier government estimates.

They found nearly 10 percent of all crashes involving significant property damage involved drowsiness- compared to federal estimates that report these types of crashes happen one to two percent of the time. Previous estimates put the numbers around 1 to 2 percent.

Only getting four hours of sleep a night could be similar to driving drunk.

Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501 (c)(3) charitable research and educational organization.

To help drivers determine if their medications may cause drowsiness, AAA and the AAA Foundation developed Roadwise Rx, a free and confidential online tool that generates personalized feedback about how the interactions between prescription, over-the-counter medicines and herbal supplements can affect safety behind the wheel.

"The coffee, the rolling down the windows, all of that stuff doesn't necessarily work", said Haugh. They found hundreds of drivers struggling to keep their eyes open minutes before a crash.


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