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One in six fatal crashes involve drowsy drivers

AAA Oklahoma Modified: November 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm •  Published: November 9, 2012

Driving while drowsy doesn’t sound deadly, but it all too often is. In recognition of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week (Nov. 12-18), AAA Oklahoma would like to alert motorists to the risks of this common, yet dangerous driving practice.

"Driving drowsy can have significant impacts on reaction time, vision impairment and lapses in overall judgment; effects similar to driving impaired,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Most drivers underestimate the risks of drowsy driving and overestimate their ability to deal with it—that’s a dangerous combination.”

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the prevalence of this risky behavior:

Drowsy driving is one of the leading contributors to traffic crashes. One in six deadly crashes involves a drowsy driver.

Motorists understand the danger, but do it anyway. Eight out of 10 people view other drivers driving while drowsy as a serious threat to their safety, yet many admit to doing it themselves.

In fact, 30 percent of drivers reported having driven in the past 30 days when they were so tired that they struggled to keep their eyes open.

Younger drivers are more likely to drive while drowsy. One in seven licensed drivers ages 16-24 admitted to having nodded off at least once while driving in the past year as compared to one in 10 of all licensed drivers.

In addition, drivers age 16-24 were more likely, by some 78 percent, to be drowsy at the time of the crash as drivers age 40-59.

One gender is guiltier than the other. Men (52 percent) were more likely than women (30 percent) to report having ever fallen asleep while driving; men (14 percent) were also more likely than women (8 percent) to admit having done so in the past year.

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