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Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Hawaii Ranks 2nd in Drowsy Driving
By News Release @ 2:35 PM :: 4579 Views :: Hawaii Statistics

Drowsy Driving — 19 States and the District of Columbia, 2009–2010

From CDC.gov

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2.5% of fatal motor vehicle crashes (approximately 730 in 2009) and 2.0% of all crashes with nonfatal injuries (approximately 30,000 in 2009) involve drowsy driving (1). However, although data collection methods make it challenging to estimate the number of crashes that involve drowsy drivers, some modeling studies have estimated that 15% to 33% of fatal crashes might involve drowsy drivers (2,3). Fatalities and injuries are more likely in motor vehicle crashes that involve drowsy driving compared with non-drowsy driving crashes (1,4). To assess the state-level self-reported prevalence of falling asleep while driving, CDC analyzed data from a set of questions about insufficient sleep administered through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) during 2009–2010. Among 147,076 respondents in 19 states and the District of Columbia (DC),* 4.2% reported having fallen asleep while driving at least one time during the previous 30 days. Reports of falling asleep while driving were more common among adults who reported usually sleeping ≤6 hours per day, snoring, or unintentionally falling asleep during the day compared with other adults who did not report these characteristics. Drivers should avoid driving while drowsy and learn the warning signs of drowsy driving.

What is already known on this topic?

Drowsy driving is an important contributor to motor vehicle crashes and fatalities. Techniques to stay awake while driving, such as turning up the radio, opening the window, and turning up the air conditioner, have not been found to be effective. Warning signs of drowsy driving include frequent yawning or blinking, difficulty remembering the past few miles driven, missing exits, drifting from one's lane, or hitting a rumble strip.

What is added by this report?

Overall prevalence of self-reported falling asleep while driving during the previous 30 days was 4.2%. State-level prevalence ranged from 2.5% in Oregon to 6.1% in Texas (Hawaii was 2nd at 5.7%). Persons who reported snoring or usually sleeping ≤6 hours per day were more likely to report falling asleep while driving.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Improved surveillance and more research will be needed to improve sleep health among U.S. adults and reduce the prevalence drowsy driving. Public health workers should educate themselves and their communities on the substantial impact that insufficient sleep and sleep disorders have on the ability to drive safely. Physicians can advise patients on lifestyle changes to improve sleep and refer patients with more serious sleep problems to a sleep specialist.

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