Drowsy driving poses risks, especially for younger drivers

Daily Press

7:03 AM EST, November 11, 2012

One in six fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver, a problem that particularly affects younger motorists, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

A recent survey conducted by the motor club found one in seven licensed drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 admitted to "nodding off" at least once during the past year. That compares to one in 10 of all licensed drivers who acknowledged falling asleep during the same period, a AAA statement said.

The survey also found while eight of 10 people see drowsy drivers as a serious risk, 30 percent of licensed drivers reported driving in the past 30 days while they struggled to keep their eyes open.

The statement went on to explain the findings mirrored data from a 2010 foundation study of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash data that estimated drivers between 16 and 24 years old were more likely to be drowsy at the time of a crash than drivers aged 40 to 59.

"Research shows that fatigue impairs safe driving, with many symptoms causing drivers to behave in ways similar to those who are intoxicated," said Georjeane Blumling, a AAA Tidewater Virginia spokeswoman.

Blumling noted the motor club wants to draw attention to the situation given the upcoming holiday driving season.

"Unfortunately, most drivers underestimate the risks associated with drowsy driving and overestimate their ability to deal with it — that's a dangerous situation," said Peter Kissinger, the AAA Foundation's president and CEO, in the statement.



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