Study Shows Drowsy Driving is a Major Issue

Nov 11, 2011


We’ve talked about drowsy driving on the blog before, but take a look at some rather shocking new data from a recent study!

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s2011 safety culture survey shows that almost 32 percent of drivers admitted to driving when they were so tired that they had difficulty keeping their eyes open in the past month.

This result is somewhat surprising, considering that 96 percent of drivers responded that drowsy driving is an unacceptable behavior.

A previous study by the AAA Foundation found that one of every six deadly crashes and one in eight crashes causing serious injury involved a drowsy driver.

"Although the vast majority of drivers recognize the serious threat of drowsy driving, a ‘Do as I Say, Not as I Do’ attitude exists when getting behind the wheel. Drowsy driving kills, just as sure as drunk, drugged and distracted driving does," said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger. "Drivers have a tendency to underestimate the impact being tired has on their driving ability, which puts themselves and others at risk."
"What's so alarming is that over half of these drivers reported having fallen asleep while driving on high‐speed roads," said Jake Nelson, AAA's director of traffic safety advocacy and research. "These data underscore the importance of educating drivers about the dangers of drowsy driving."


AAA offers some tips to help deal with fatigue and driving:


  • Get plenty of sleep (at least seven hours) the night before a long trip.
  • Stop driving if you become sleepy; someone who is tired could fall asleep at any time – fatigue impacts reaction time, judgment and vision, causing people who are very sleepy to behave in similar ways to those who are drunk.
  • Travel at times when you are normally awake, and stay overnight rather than driving straight through.
  • Schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles.
  • Drink a caffeinated beverage. Since it takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to enter the bloodstream, find a safe place to take a 20 to 30-minute nap while you’re waiting for the caffeine to take effect.
  • Travel with a passenger who can take over if necessary.

Photo courtesy of Timothy Krause and re-used under the Creative Commons license.