Drowsy driving is dangerous, but driving while asleep is even worse. It’s happening more and more
The National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) recent Sleep Health Index (SHI) reports staggering drowsy driving statistics, revealing a clear need for significant action that is long overdue.
Three percent of Americans, representing more than seven million drivers, reported falling asleep behind the wheel within the past two weeks. Equally alarming, results of the SHI also indicate that people only felt well-rested about four days per week.
“Three days out of the week the average American is not well-rested, which has implications for productivity, well-being, mood, health, and of course, driving. This suggests that the occurrence of drowsy driving is likely underreported,” said NSF Research Fellow, Kristen Knutson, PhD.
Other results from the SHI found that only eight percent of respondents reported having avoided driving in the past two weeks because of feeling tired. Additionally, only two percent of respondents indicated that they avoided taking a ride with a driver who they felt was too tired to drive safely in that same time period.
These numbers highlight the importance of drowsy driving legislation, public education and awareness programs.
To reduce the 6,400 annual deaths attributed to drowsy driving, NSF is declared November 6-13, 2016 to be Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® (DDPW). This annual campaign, which coincides with the end of daylight saving time, provides public education about the risks of driving while drowsy and ways to improve safety. Additional resources can be accessed via NSF’s DDPW webpage.
About the National Sleep Foundation
The National Sleep Foundation is dedicated to improving health and well-being through sleep education and advocacy. Founded in 1990 by the leaders in sleep medicine, NSF is the trusted resource for sleep science, healthy sleep habits, and sleep disorders to medical professionals, patients and the public.
About the Sleep Health Index™
The SHI is a quarterly fielded, nationally representative poll of American adults used to obtain the nation’s “sleep pulse”. The SHI tracks trends and chronicles our nation’s sleep health over time.