We’re getting sleepier behind the wheel, according to AAA.
Crashes due to drowsy driving are about eight times higher than federal estimates, according to a new study by the road-safety organization.
“Drivers who don’t get enough sleep are putting everyone on the road at risk,” said David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “By conducting an in-depth analysis using video of everyday drivers, we can now better assess if a driver was fatigued in the moments leading up to a crash.”
About 1 in 10 crashes are related to driver fatigue, researchers found.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The difficulty in detecting drowsiness after a crash makes it one of the least reported traffic safety problems. But the research using dash-cam video from more than 700 crashes confirms the growing trend.
In the study, researchers examined the faces of drivers in the three minutes before a crash, measuring when their eyes closed and linking it to drowsiness.
Federal estimates indicate that sleepiness is a factor in only 1 or 2 percent of crashes.
The federally funded study recruited 3,593 drivers from six areas of the United States who were continuously monitored over several months with dash-cam video.
So why are we so tired in our cars. Because we’re tired in life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 35 percent of American drivers sleep less than the recommended minimum of seven hours a night.
AAA recommends drivers hit the road during a window in which they’re usually awake, as well as avoid heavy meals and medication that could cause drowsiness.
For longer trips, drivers should take a break every two hours or every 100 miles, and travel with an alert passenger who can take a turn.