How Common Is Drowsy Driving?
Many people would not dare get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol. However, some people will drive while they are sleepy without hesitation. One study showed that half of drivers had admitted to driving while they were sleepy within the past year. Twenty-three percent of people have admitted that they know someone personally who has fallen asleep behind the wheel and gotten into an accident.
Why Is Drowsy Driving Just As Dangerous As Drunk Driving?
Alcohol slows down a person’s reaction time. People are unable to react as quickly when they are sleepy. Alcohol impairs judgment. People are unable to make quick decisions when they are sleepy. Furthermore, one study has shown that driving after being awake for 18 hours is equivalent to driving with a BAC of 0.05. Driving after being awake for 24 hours is equivalent to driving with a BAC of 0.10. Keep in mind that the legal intoxication limit in every state is 0.08.
Drowsy Driving Can Have Devastating Results
Drowsy driving does not have the same stigma as drunk driving. However, the results of a drowsy driving accident can be catastrophic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that driver sleepiness is the cause of 100,000 accidents each year. Drowsy driving also causes 71,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths per year.
Some experts believe that the number of people injured in a drowsy driving accident is underestimated. Unlike drunk driving, there are no tests available to assess whether someone is drowsy driving. Most police officers have not been trained to identify where someone is driving while drowsy.
People Who Are At The Greatest Risk For Drowsy Driving
Ages 18 to 29 are the age group that is at the greatest risk for drowsy driving. Men are also at a greater risk for driving while drowsy. Shift workers are more likely to drunk drive than those who have a regular daytime schedule. Sleeping disorders, such as sleep apnea, can increase the risk of drowsy driving. Additionally, people who get less than eight hours of sleep per night are more likely to drive while they are drowsy.