WAKE UP TO THE FACTS ON FATIGUED DRIVING

April 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, an estimated 17% of fatal vehicle crashes are linked to drowsy driving. . However, unlike drugs and alcohol, there is no physical test to determine sleepiness as a potential cause of a crash, therefore, the frequency of drowsy driving crashes is most likely much higher.

Our internal body clock tells us when we need to eat and sleep and when we have the most energy. Our body clocks run on a daily rhythm of 24 hours and there are periods of the day when we are likely to feel sleepy—mid-afternoon from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and early morning between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Compared to drivers averaging 8 hours of sleep or more, drivers who sleep less than 5 hours per night on average are 6 times more likely to be involved in a fatigue-related crash.

In a recent national survey, 30% of employed U.S. adults (approximately 40.6 million workers) reported an average sleep duration of ≤6 hours per day. Particularly at risk of not getting enough sleep are those that work more than 40 hours per week and shift workers.

In a 2011 survey, nearly one-third of drivers admitted to driving in the past month when they were so tired that they had difficulty keeping their eyes open.

If you have been awake for more than 20 hours, you could be just as impaired as if you had a blood alcohol content of .08— the legal threshold of DUI across the U.S. This is especially relevant for shift workers or international travelers who have been awake for extended periods.

A micro-sleep is an episode of sleep which may last for a fraction of a second or up to thirty seconds. If you are sleep-deprived, you can fall into a micro-sleep at any time, typically without warning.

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