Drowsy Driving a higher risk of crashes than originally observed

Michele Moreno
February 9, 2018

Overnight, AAA released results of a new study that shows drowsy driving plays a role in almost one in 10 crashes.

In this study, researchers used in-vehicle dash cam videos to examine drivers' faces in the three minutes leading up to more than 700 crashes.

Uber and Lyft driver Mark Price spends eight hours every night on the road, and every night, he sees a near-miss. They found 9.5 percent of all crashes and 10.8 percent of crashes resulting in significant property damage involved drowsiness.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nine and a half percent of all crashes are caused by drowsy driving.

Previous government estimates put drowsiness as a factor in one to two percent of accidents.

"I think that underscores the significance of this safety concern on the road", said AAA's William Horrey.

"Missing just two to three hours of sleep is a serious sleep deprivation situation and can leave a person in a condition similar to being drunk", says Sinclair. This is why data from sources other than police reports - like in-vehicle cameras - are necessary to accurately assess how many crashes are caused by drowsiness, according to the researchers.

John Hammond, a truck driver from Texas said, "You've got to look out for everybody".

Researchers say when people get less than that and drive drowsy, it can be as risky as driving drunk, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave.

AAA shared video of a drowsy driver behind the wheel, showing his auto cross the center lines on a highway and bump into a vehicle. Pulling into a rest stop and taking a quick catnap - at least 20 minutes, but no more than 30 minutes - can help keep you alert.

To read the report from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, visit this link.

AAA is now urging drivers everywhere not to rely on your bodies for warning signs that you're drowsy.

"The coffee, the rolling down the windows, all of that stuff doesn't necessarily work", said Haugh.

Other reports by Insurance News

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