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New Report on Drowsy Driving

Getting more sleep in the new year may be more important that you think: a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 15% to 33% of fatal crashes involve tired drivers.

We may be familiar with the dangers of drunk driving, but according to an article on CNN.com, drowsy driving can be just as deadly. When we are sleep-deprived, it slows our reaction time and we could hit something we might otherwise avoid.

We are also more impulsive when we are tired. According to Dr. Michael Howell, a sleep expert at the University of Minnesota, “We respond to things without thinking them through. Road rage happens because people are sleep deprived.”

The CDC looked at data from a 2009-2010 national behaviorial telephone survey of more than 147,000 respondents. About 4.2% of those respondents said that they had fallen sleep while driving at least once during the last month. That works out to be one out of every 24 people.

But other reports provide similar findings. A 2005 National Sleep Foundation poll reported that 60% of drivers had driven while drowsy in the previous year. A national telephone survey in 2010 by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that 40% of people surveyed said they had “fallen asleep or nodded off” while driving at some point in their lives.

The CDC report said that men are more likely than women to report falling asleep while driving. Men are more likely than women to have sleep disorfers, like sleep apnea. Men are also less likely to regularly get enough sleep.