Drowsy driving more pervasive than previously thought: study

November 11, 2010

More drivers admitted to driving drowsy in the past year, according to findings from a study (.pdf file) released Nov. 8 by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Data was collected for the Washington-based foundation's 2010 Traffic Safety Culture Index.

Researchers surveyed more than 2,000 people 16 and older last spring and found:

  • 41 percent of drivers admitted to having "fallen asleep or nodded off" while driving at some point in their lives.
  • 11 percent of drivers admitted to falling asleep or nodding off in the past year, and 3.9 percent admitted doing so in the past month.
  • More than 1 out of every 4 drivers admitted to having driven when they were sleepy and had a hard time keeping their eyes open.
Results (.pdf file) of the National Sleep Foundation's 2009 Sleep in America Poll showed 28 percent of Americans admitted to falling asleep at the wheel that year. Researchers warned that drowsy driving is involved in about 1 out of every 6 deadly crashes.