Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as DUI

Most Miami drivers understand the danger of drunken driving. Fewer are well-versed in the serious car accident potential of driving while drowsy. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that between 15 and 33 percent of fatal car crashes involve over-tired, drowsy drivers.

Sleep deprivation slows reaction times to dangerous levels. This observation was made by a sleep expert physician from the University of Minnesota. This condition often causes drivers to hit something or someone alert car operators might otherwise avoid.

Additionally, the study finds that people are also “more impulsive” when very tired. “We respond to things without thinking them through,” says the university doctor. He’s even made a connection between sleep deprivation and road rage incidents.

The CDC study includes data from a national behavioral survey of over 147,000 people in 2009-2010. Over four percent of respondents said they’d fallen asleep at least once during the prior month–one out of every 24 respondents.

This is low compared to a 2005 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, which discovered that around 60 percent of respondents admitted to driving while sleepy in the preceding year. This much higher level is supported by a 2010 national survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which found that over 40 percent of respondents said they fell asleep or nodded off while behind the wheel at “some point in their lives.”

The CDC report found that men were more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel than women. Apparently, this is not surprising, as men are also more prone to sleep disorders and less likely to get sufficient sleep. The University of Minnesota doctor states that “We live in a sleep-deprived culture.” He strongly recommends that you get enough sleep in 2013 to be safer on the roadways.

Do you agree with the CDC study and the doctor that drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunken driving? Do you believe you now get enough sleep to remain alert at all times when driving?

Source: CNN, “1 in 24 report driving while drowsy,” Jacque Wilson, Jan. 4, 2013

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