Aurora, Illinois – Two out of every five drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at some point, with one in ten saying they’ve done so in the past year, according to a new study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety.

More than a quarter of those surveyed said they drove in the past month despite being so tired they had difficulty keeping their eyes open, although 85 per cent of drivers surveyed felt it was “completely unacceptable” to drive in such condition.

“When you are behind the wheel of a car, being sleepy is very dangerous,” said Brad Roeber, AAA Chicago regional president. “Sleepiness decreases awareness, slows reaction time and impairs judgment, just like drugs or alcohol, contributing to the possibility of a crash. We need to change the culture so that not only will drivers recognize the dangers of driving while drowsy, but will stop doing it.”

A new analysis of crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy drivers were a factor in one in every six deadly crashes, one in eight crashes resulting in occupant hospitalization, and one in 14 crashes in which a vehicle was towed. These percentages are substantially higher than most previous estimates, suggesting the contribution of drowsing driving has not been fully appreciated.

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