Motorists ages 16 to 24 are more likely to drive while drowsy.
One in seven licensed drivers age 16-24 admits to having nodded off behind the wheel at least once in the past year, says a new survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Overall, 1 in 10 drivers acknowledge nodding off while driving from time to time. However, less-experienced drivers tend to underestimate the risks of drowsy driving and overestimate their ability to deal with problems from the practice, says Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of AAA Foundation. “That’s a deadly combination,” he says. “When most drivers think they’re too tired to drive, they should probably already be off the street.”
Drowsy driving is a factor in an estimated 1 in 6 fatal crashes in the USA and 1 in 8 crashes resulting in hospitalization, according to AAA Foundation. “I don’t think there has been enough focus on drowsy driving as an issue,” Kissinger says. “I describe it as the largest unrecognized traffic-safety problem in the country.”
Alex Noel, now 21, was 17 when he dozed off and swerved off the highway in the fall of 2008. “I was dozing off the whole way, but I didn’t think I would fall fully asleep,” says Noel, a welder who lives near Boston. “ I could only move my right arm and my right leg just a little bit. The seat belt saved my life.” Noel suffered a broken shoulder, bruised lungs, a concussion, facial cuts and nerve damage.
Drowsy driving is a form of impaired driving. Just like being on drugs or alcohol, or, distractions related to cell phone use, it is dangerous. People think they can “handle it”, and the younger sect is more willing to dismiss it. Admittedly, unlike cell phone use or drug/alcohol influence, we ALL have probably done it from time to time, and all probably do it from time to time. Admit it—you are in the middle of a trip, long or short, and you feel a bit tired. Do we really expect people to just “pull over” and rest? That is never going to happen.
This is a big problem, that probably is not going to get better—especially with younger people. What can we do? As a Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer, The only thing, probably, is to educate everyone. It will not stop the problem, but if it makes people think more, and it gets just one potential dangerous driver off the road, and prevents one accident, then the education is working.