We all know that drowsy driving and driving fatigue is dangerous and plays a large role in fatal accidents, but a new study conducted by the AAA foundation has revealed some startling statistics. According to a study recently published, AAA found that over 20% of all fatal accidents involved a drowsy driver. The only other major study conducted was in 2011 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That particular study found that only 2.5% of fatal crashes involved a drowsy driver. This is a huge increase in percentage over the past 4 years. AAA found that nearly 6,500 deaths were attributed to drowsy driving, while the NHTSA study in 2011 attributed drowsy driving to 1,000 deaths.
Not only does drowsy driving increase the risk of fatal accidents, it increases the likelihood of all accidents including injury crashes and crashes where hospitalization was required. AAA’s has a huge amount of data considering they are the most popular accident towing service in the Country. They based their percentage on the 14,268 crashes where at least 1 vehicle was towed from the accident scene. The study also concluded that drowsy driving is responsible for 6% of all crashes in the United States. Drowsy driving accidents also accounted for 13% of crashes where hospitalization was involved and also accounted for 7% of all crashes where an injury was reported.
A Major Traffic Safety Issue For All Drivers
With this new traffic data, it’s easy to see that drowsy driving is now a major safety issue for all drivers on the road. Peter Kissinger, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety President and Chief Executive Office released a news release stating that
“This new research further confirms that drowsy driving is a serious traffic safety problem. Unfortunately, drivers often underestimate this risk and overestimate their ability to combat drowsiness behind the wheel.”
There will always be people that are skeptical of the figures published, so I wanted to give you an idea of how AAA came to these conclusions. AAA used police reports from officers at the scene of the accidents along with interviews of all parties involved in the accident. AAA then used trained crash investigators to look over all these reports and interviews when decided who was considered “drowsy”. AAA believes the figures from the NHTSA were so different due to a few simple reasons. 1) Police Officers have an extremely difficult time discerning if a driver was drowsy because there is no physical way to test for drowsiness. 2) Even if a driver was drowsy, they would clearly not admit this fact of information to the police.
While the AAA study and the NHTSA are the benchmarks for the United States, there have been plenty of other similar studies in other countries around the world. In 2012, a research study in France compiled by JAMA found that driving while drowsy or sleep deprived was the equivalent of drunk driving. Both drunk driving and driving sleep deprived increase the risk of an accident by 100%, meaning that it’s twice as likely for an accident to occur.
Who is Most Likely to Drive While Drowsy or Sleep Deprived?
There is no doubt that drowsy driving is a problem for drivers of all ages and needs to be addressed, but some age groups engage in this activity more than others. Previous data from AAA concluded that the age group most responsible for fatigued driving are drivers between the ages of 19-24 at 33%. This data is eerily similar to drunk driving statistics. It was found that drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 were most likely to be involved in a fatal crash that involved alcohol. American motorists are well aware that driving drowsy is dangerous, but it’s clear that they are still deciding to drive anyways. Peter Kissinger also added that
“Despite the fact that 95 percent of Americans deem it ‘unacceptable’ to drive when they are so tired that they have a hard time keeping their eyes open, more than 28 percent admit to doing so in the last month. Like other impairments, driving while drowsy is not without risk.”
If you or a loved one has been involved in a traffic accident, there’s a 1 in 5 chance that drowsy driving played a factor. If driver fatigue was involved, you may be entitled to compensation beyond your Michigan No-Fault Benefits. We have handled many accidents involving driving fatigue and we can help. Give us a call at (517) 347-6900 for a free consultation. No Fee Unless You Win.