Study finds drowsy driving prevalent among young drivers

Drowsy driving is one of the biggest dangers on roads and highways both in Ohio and across the nation. Every year thousands of people are killed in car accidents that are attributed to driver fatigue. Now, as CBS News reports, a new study by AAA is showing just how prevalent the danger of drowsy driving is. The study found that despite an overwhelming majority of drivers viewing drowsy driving as dangerous, over two-fifths of drivers nonetheless admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel. The danger appears to be especially problematic among young drivers.

Falling asleep

The AAA report surveyed 2,500 drivers across the nation about their history of drowsy driving. Unsurprisingly, 97 percent of drivers say that driving while fatigued is unacceptable. Yet the survey revealed that over 43 percent of drivers nonetheless admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at some point in their lives. Approximately 10 percent of drivers say they have fallen asleep while driving at least once in the past year alone.

As ABC News reports, the problem is especially widespread among young drivers. Close to 40 percent of respondents aged 19 to 24 say they have driven while struggling to stay awake at least once in the past month. The results suggest younger drivers, who are already more likely than more experienced drivers to be involved in fatal accidents, are at an especially high risk of causing a crash due to driver fatigue.

Deadly accidents

It should hardly be surprising that driving while fatigued is highly dangerous. AAA also estimates that about 6,500 fatal car crashes occur every year because of drowsy driving and that one-sixth of all fatal accidents are a result of driver fatigue.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also says that close to 40 percent of the major highway investigations it conducted between 2001 and 2012 involved fatigue as at least a contributing factor.

Drowsy driving

Safety experts note that people often overestimate their ability to stay awake when behind the wheel. The fact is that sleep can come over drivers surprisingly quickly, at which point their vehicles essentially turn into dangerous, runaway weapons. Even drivers who stay awake but are fatigued are more likely to make poor driving decisions and to react slowly to changing traffic conditions. Drowsy driving is a deadly practice that needs to be stopped.

Anybody who has been hurt in a crash that may have been caused by a drowsy or otherwise negligent driver should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. An attorney can help a car crash victim with his or her personal injury case, including by clarifying what steps can be taken in order to potentially recover financial compensation.