Study identifies risk factors tied to drowsy driving

Atlanta – Drowsy driving is more prevalent among men, younger drivers, binge drinkers and those who do not always buckle up, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Previous studies have suggested that drowsy driving plays a role in as many as 25 percent of fatal crashes every year. But limited information was available about the association between drowsy driving and other risk factors, CDC researchers said, prompting the creation of a wide-ranging project that included 92,102 respondents in the agency's 2011-2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys

Four percent of respondents reported they had nodded off or fallen asleep, even just for a brief moment, while driving in the previous 30 days. Men (5 percent) were more likely than women (3 percent) to drive drowsy, while those who reported that they sometimes, seldom or never wore safety belts (6.6 percent) were more likely to drive drowsy than those who always wore safety belts (3.9 percent).

Researchers recommended interventions to increase safety belt use, reduce binge drinking and promote healthy sleep habits to help lower the rate of drowsy driving crashes.