Study: Drowsy Driving a Factor in 10% of U.S. Car Crashes

Drowsiness is a factor in about 10% of U.S. crashes—about five times as many as federal safety officials estimate, according to a new AAA study.

The research is based on an analysis of more than 700 crashes, in which it was possible to look at videos of the drivers taken during the three minutes ahead of impact. Drivers volunteered to participate in the study, which used special in-vehicle cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates driver drowsiness is a factor in only about 2% of crashes. But USA Today notes that it’s almost impossible for police to determine whether drowsiness was a factor in a crash unless the driver says so.

AAA recommends that drivers get at least seven hours of sleep before climbing behind the wheel. But only about 65% of motorists do so, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

USA Today cites experts who say trying to perk up by slapping yourself, drinking caffeine or rolling down the windows is a very short-term solution at best. Even a short nap at a rest stop is far more effective.‚Äč