The Most At-Risk Drowsy Drivers
While accurately reporting the exact number of drowsy drivers that cause accidents is difficult, officials have worked to identify the people most likely to drive drowsy.
How Many Crashes Happen Per Year?According to estimates released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 72,000 crashes are caused by drowsy drivers, resulting in approximately 44,000 injured drivers and passengers and another 800 fatalities. These numbers are just a rough estimate though, since it's incredibly difficult to accurately track the number of crashes caused or influenced by drowsiness. The NHTSA believes that the true figures could be even higher - up to about 750% higher, in fact.
The Problem With ReportingA major issue standing in the way of accurate reporting is the lack of a test, like a breathalyzer, to determine whether or not someone is drowsy. On top of that, states don't use a uniform reporting practice to note when a crash was influenced or caused by a drowsy driver. While most states indicate whether or not someone was sleepy or fatigued at the time of the crash, they don't receive much specialized training to identify drowsy drivers, and neither Wisconsin nor Missouri have specific coeds to report a drowsy or sleeping driver.
Who Is More Likely To Drive Drowsy?The National Sleep Foundation conducted a study in the early '00s to learn which groups of people were the most likely to drive while drowsy, and they found that young men, shift workers and parents drove drowsy more often than other groups.
- 71 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 29 reported driving drowsy, compared to 52 percent of drivers between the ages of 30 and 64, and 19 percent of drivers 65 years old and above.
- 56 percent of men reported driving while drowsy, compared to 45 percent of women. Men were also nearly twice as likely to fall asleep at the wheel, with 22 percent of men reporting compared to 12 percent of women.
- 59 percent of parents reported driving while drowsy, compared to 45 percent of adults without any children.