More than 1 in 5 fatal crashes involve fatigue: study

Washington – Drowsy driving is a factor in more than 1 out of 5 deadly crashes, according to a report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

More than 6,000 fatigue-related crashes each year result in at least one fatality, researchers said. AAA stated that the report, which used data from 2009 through 2013, highlights the need for drivers to protect themselves and others from drowsy driving – particularly as the holiday season approaches and evening commutes become darker.

According to AAA, warning signs of drowsy driving include:

  • Not being able to recall the past few miles traveled
  • Having disconnected or wandering thoughts
  • Feeling as though your head is heavy
  • Drifting out of the lane, and possibly driving on rumble strips
  • Having difficulty focusing or keeping eyes open
  • Yawning repeatedly
  • Accidentally tailgating other vehicles
  • Missing traffic signs

People who experience any symptoms of drowsy driving should find a safe place to pull over, AAA recommended.

“Despite the fact that 95 percent of Americans deem it ‘unacceptable’ to drive when they are so tired that they have a hard time keeping their eyes open, more than 28 percent admit to doing so in the last month,” Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said in a press release.