Most adults would admit that they’re tired a good portion of the time. Between our commitments to work, family and social activities, we’re often overbooked and sleep is the first thing to go. But America’s chronic shortage of sleep may be leading to more dangerous consequences than just nodding off during a meeting. In fact, it may be contributing to a higher number of car and truck accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released the results of a study about drowsy driving. For the study, researchers conducted phone interviews with approximately 147,000 Americans in 19 states as well as the District of Columbia. During the interviews, respondents were asked if they had fallen asleep or nodded off while driving at least one time during the previous month. The results are definitely a cause for concern. Researchers found that 4 percent of participants admitted to drowsy driving behavior. This means that 1 in 24 drivers in the U.S. have recently fallen asleep behind the wheel. These estimates may even be too low, because not every driver realizes it when they nod off for just a second or two. According to a study done by a Montgomery County DUI attorney, the most likely drowsy drivers are:
- Drivers between the ages of 25 and 34
- Anyone who gets less than six hours of sleep per night, on average
By this point, most of us are aware and conscientious enough to avoid most dangerous driving behaviors, including drunk driving and distracted driving. But chances are good that all of us have driven drowsy at one point or another. By even the most conservative estimates, drowsy driving is to blame for about 3 percent of traffic fatalities each year. In light of this, perhaps we should all prioritize sleep more highly before getting behind the wheel.