It’s something most drivers have done at some point. And some drivers do it often.
It’s drowsy driving, and recent research suggests that it is much more common – and much more dangerous – than previously thought.
According to the AAA, one in 10 traffic accidents are caused by drowsy driving.
The AAA analyzed dashboard videos from 700 auto accidents, and found that 9.5 percent of all crashes (and 10.8 percent of serious accidents) involved drowsy drivers. If these estimates are accurate, this means that drowsy driving is more commonly a factor in car accidents than distracted driving.
Americans Are Tired – And It’s Affecting Roadway Safety
According to Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, approximately one third of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep a night. The average adult needs a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night.
Most people understand the dangers of drowsy driving, but addressing the problem isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do. Distracted driving can be avoided by simply putting down a phone. But drowsy driving is only fixable, in most situations, by getting more sleep.
Automakers are getting involved in tackling this problem. Many newer car models come with safety features that can help prevent drowsy driving-related accidents. The Toyota Lexus is using camera technology to monitor signs of fatigue in drivers. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class uses technology to monitor a driver’s steering wheel motions. If the driver is suspected to be tired, a coffee cup light turns on.
Drivers are responsible for their behavior behind the wheel. For drowsy drivers, this means getting enough sleep, drinking coffee or taking a break to rest.
When a tired, distracted or drunk driver causes an accident, victims may have legal options.