The dangers of drowsy driving have not been covered as often by the media despite the fatal risks they pose to all drivers. The AAA foundation has named drowsy driving as the number one unrecognized traffic-safety issue in the U.S.
While drowsy driving is known to be dangerous, a new report emphasizes just how risky it is and how often it happens. Drivers age 16 to 24 are more likely to drive drowsy compared to any other age group, according to a new survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The survey found that one in seven drivers in this age group admitted to nodding off while they were driving at least once during the past year.
The AAA said that younger drivers have the highest risk of driving drowsy because they underestimate the risks. They also overestimate their driving experience and ability to deal with drowsy driving issues.
Despite drowsy driving not being discussed as often as distracted driving, it appears to be just as dangerous. Statistics by the AAA show that drowsy driving contributes to one in six fatal car accidents in the U.S. Drowsy driving also contributes to one in eight car accidents that require hospitalization.
Traffic safety advocates are taking steps to address drowsy driving throughout the country. Many states have installed rumble strips on the edges and medians of highways. The rumble strips are designed to alert drivers if their tires drive across the bumps.
Auto manufacturers are also taking steps to address the dangers of drowsy driving. Automakers have started to develop technology that can determine if a driver is falling asleep behind the wheel or being inattentive.
Source: USA Today, "Young more at risk for drowsy driving," Larry Copeland, Nov. 8, 2012
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