Characteristics And Consequences Of Drowsy Driving

On August 8, 2016, the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) published a report concerning the impact of “drowsy driving.”  Accompanying the release of this report was a press release titled “New Report Spotlights Dangers Of Drowsy Driving.”

A few excerpts from this release include:

A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do, points out that nearly 83.6 million sleep-deprived Americans are driving every day. And it’s taking a toll – an estimated 5,000 lives were lost in drowsy driving-related crashes last year.

also:

While estimates of deaths caused by drowsy drivers range from 2% to 20% of all traffic fatalities, safety officials agree that the extent of the problem is not fully known. “There are challenges associated with both measuring and combating drowsy driving,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins, who oversaw the development of the report. “Law enforcement lack protocols and training to help officers recognize drowsy driving at roadside. And if a crash occurs, the drowsy driver may not report the cause due to concerns about monetary and other penalties.”

The Huffington Post article of August 11, 2016, titled “Sleeping At The Wheel Costs The U.S. A Shocking Amount Of Lives And Money” discusses drowsy driving and highlights eight notable aspects of the full report’s findings.  Four of these aspects, which are more fully discussed in the article, include:

2. DROWSY DRIVERS ARE 3.5 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO CRASH.

4. DROWSY DRIVING PLAYS A ROLE IN NEARLY A QUARTER OF FATAL CRASHES.

5. AFTER 21 HOURS WITHOUT SLEEP, YOUR DRIVING IS ABOUT AS GOOD AS IF YOUR WERE DRUNK.

8. MORE THAN TWO IN FIVE DRIVERS ADMIT TO HAVING FALLEN ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL.

Of particular note is point #5 above, which is accompanied by a graphic in the article.  As explained on page 9 of the GHSA full report:

A motorist who has been awake for an extended period of time will likely experience performance deficits similar to that of someone who has been drinking. For example, a motorist who is up for a continuous 18 hours will typically exhibit performance levels similar to that of a person with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of 0.05%. After 21 and 24 hours without sleep, performance mimics a BAC of 0.08% and 0.10%, respectively (Dawson & Reid, 1997; Arnedt et al., 2001).

The report then lists the common factors in drowsy driving crashes.

Additional details concerning drowsy driving accidents can be seen in the sources mentioned above.