Drowsy Driving

Drowsy Driving

Research shows that fatigue is a significant factor in motor vehicle, commercial trucking and rail collisions.

  • Drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 motor vehicle crashes a year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research.
  • An AAA Traffic Safety Foundation survey found that one in four drivers have struggled to stay awake by driving. An estimated 17 percent of fatal crashes, 13 percent of crashes resulting in hospitalization and 7 percent of all crashes requiring a tow, involve a drowsy driver, according to a 2010 study by the AAA.
  • Driver-related factors such as fatigue were recorded for 34 percent of the drivers of large trucks in fatal collisions in 2010 according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
  • Speeding was the top driver-related factor in crashes involving large trucks, followed by distraction/inattention, impairment (fatigue, alcohol, illness, etc.), failure to keep in proper lane and vision obscured, according to the DOT.
  • A 2013 study by the Federal Rail Administration found that fatigue greatly increases the chances of an accident in which human factors play a role, with the risk of such an accident rising from11 percent to 65 percent.

DRIVING BEHAVIORS REPORTED FOR DRIVERS AND MOTORCYCLE OPERATORS INVOLVED IN FATAL CRASHES, 2012

Behavior Number Percent
Driving too fast for conditions or in excess of posted speed limit or racing 9,320 20.6%
Under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication 6,199 13.7
Failure to keep in proper lane 3,431 7.6
Failure to yield right of way 3,211 7.1
Distracted (phone, talking, eating, etc.) 3,119 6.9
Overcorrecting/oversteering 2,246 5.0
Operating vehicle in a careless manner 2,052 4.5
Failure to obey traffic signs, signals or officer 1,820 4.0
Operating vehicle in erratic, reckless or negligent manner 1,650 3.6
Swerving or avoiding due to wind, slippery surface, other
vehicle, object, nonmotorist in roadway, etc.
1,557 3.4
Vision obscured (rain, snow, glare, lights, buildings, trees, etc.) 1,282 2.8
Drowsy, asleep, fatigued, ill or blacked out 1,254 2.8
Driving wrong way in one-way traffic or on wrong side of road 1,004 2.2
Making improper turn 930 2.1
Other factors   5,238 11.6
None reported   14,150 31.2
Unknown   5,146 11.4
Total drivers (1)  45,337 100.0%

(1) The sum of percentages is greater than total drivers as more than one factor may be present for the same driver.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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