CDC report: Drowsy driving one of most deadly effects of inadequate sleep
Drowsy driving is “one of the most lethal consequences of inadequate sleep,” the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says in a new report on American adults’ sleeping habits.
In a CDC survey of 74,571 people, 4.7 percent of American adults acknowledged they had nodded off or fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days. The 12-state survey was taken in 2009.
|In a survey by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 5 percent of American adults acknowledged they had nodded off or fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days.|
Among the 12 states, estimates of nodding off or falling asleep while driving ranged from 3 percent in Illinois to 6.4 percent in Hawaii and Texas.
In a 2010 survey by the AAA Foundation, 41 percent of U.S. drivers confessed they had fallen asleep or nodded off while driving at some point in their lives.
Dr. Allan Pack, director of the Center for Sleep at University of Pennsylvania, told ABC News: “Most of us believe that there are a lot more fall-asleep crashes than reported. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg. It’s probably not reported accurately because a number of states don’t even having a ‘falling asleep while driving’ … box when reporting a car crash.”
Across the country, drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in an estimated 1,550 deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Sleepiness reduces vigilance while driving, slowing reaction time and leading to deficits in information processing, which can result in crashes,” the CDC report says.
According to the CDC survey, a 25- to 34-year-old man is the poster child for drowsy driving.
Men (5.8 percent) were more likely to have nodded off or fallen asleep while driving than women (3.5 percent), the survey shows. Also, employed Americans (5.4 percent) were more likely to be drowsy drivers than homemakers or students (2.2 percent).
Here is the breakdown by age of drowsy drivers:
• 25-34 — 7.2 percent.
• 35-44 — 5.7 percent.
• 18-24 — 4.5 percent.
• 45-54 — 3.9 percent.
• 55-64 — 3.1 percent.
• 65 and older — 2 percent.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests that most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each day. However, 35 percent of the people surveyed by the CDC indicated they average less than seven hours of sleep each day. A separate CDC report, based on nationwide data from 2005 through 2008, found that 37 percent of Americans age 20 and older failed to get at least seven hours a sleep each night.
In the 12-state survey, 7.3 percent of the people who got less than seven hours of sleep reported nodding off at the wheel, compared with 3 percent who got more than seven hours of sleep.
The study based on data from 2005-08 showed 11.3 percent of American adults who got less than seven hours of sleep had difficulty driving or taking public transportation. The gender breakdown was 13.1 percent for women and 9.4 percent for men. By age, the numbers were 12.6 percent for the 20-39 group, 12.7 percent for the 40-59 group and 6.9 percent for those over 60.
The 2005-08 study didn’t specifically address drowsy driving.
Among adults in the 12-state survey, reports of less than seven hours of sleep ranged from 28 percent in Minnesota to 45 percent in Hawaii. Estimates of unintentionally falling asleep during the day ranged from 33 percent in Wyoming to 43 percent in Hawaii.
The 12 states in the survey were California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Texas and Wyoming.
An estimated 50 million to 70 million American adults experience sleeping problems.