Drowsy Driving as Bad as Drunk Driving?

Drivers who miss between one to two hours of the recommended sleep in a 24-hour period double their risk for a crash, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that 35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended seven hours daily. With drowsy driving causing more than one in five fatal crashes on U.S. roadways each year, AAA warns drivers that getting any less than seven hours of sleep may have deadly consequences.

“You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel,” said Dr. David Yang, Executive Director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Our new research shows that a driver who has slept for less than 5 hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk.”

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s report, Acute Sleep Deprivation and Risk of Motor Vehicle Crash Involvement, found that in a 24-hour period, crash risk for sleep-deprived drivers increased steadily when compared to drivers who slept the recommended seven hours or more:

  • Six to seven hours of sleep: 1.3 times the crash risk

  • Five to six hours of sleep: 1.9 times the crash risk

  • Four to five hours of sleep: 4.3 times the crash risk

  • Less than four hours of sleep: 11.5 times the crash risk

It is hoped that new research findings such as these will persuade drivers to avoid driving while drowsy, and under-recognized and critical traffic safety issue.

More information at: https://www.aaafoundation.org/