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Respiratory/Sleep

New Drowsy Driving Numbers Signal Large Problem

November 10, 2014


WASHINGTON, DC – Numerous sleep medicine exhibitors at last month’s Medtrade testified to the growing awareness of sleep disorders, with sleep apnea accounting for multiple comorbidities.

The AAA Foundation for Public Safety’s long-awaited report last week also highlights another huge problem—drowsy driving—concluding that as much as 21% of crashes (from 2009-2013) in which a person was killed, likely involved a drowsy driver.

“If these proportions are applied to all reported crashes nationwide, results suggest that an average of 328,000 crashes annually, including 109,000 crashes that result in injuries and 6,400 fatal crashes, involve a drowsy driver,” wrote AAA analysts in a report released this week.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 1.4% of all motor vehicle crashes in the United States, 2.2% of those that resulted in injuries, and 2.5% of all fatal crashes in years 2005-2009, involved a drowsy driver, and those crashes resulted in a total of 5,021 deaths over those years.

“However, the official government statistics are widely regarded as a substantial underestimates of the true magnitude of the problem,” writes AAA. “This study estimates that as many as 6% of all crashes in which a passenger vehicle is towed from the scene, 7% of crashes that result in any injuries, 13% of crashes that result in sever injuries requiring hospitalization, and 21% of fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver.”

Read Full Report Here