Skip to Content

New Research - Crash Risks Double When Driving Drowsy

December 30, 2016 | Category: Automobile Accidents, Truck Accidents | Share

New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s report, Acute Sleep Deprivation and Risk of Motor Vehicle Crash Involvement, showed that drivers missing between one to two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour-period, have close to double the risk of being involved in crashes. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) says that 35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended seven hours daily. AAA warns drivers that getting less than seven hours of sleep may have deadly consequences. Drowsy driving is involved in more than one in five fatal crashes on U.S. roadways each year. 

New Research - Crash Risks Double When Driving Drowsy - Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.Even though the issue of drowsy driving accidents is underreported, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) says that drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths. 

Why is drowsiness so dangerous? 

The CDC says that drowsiness – 

  • Makes drivers less able to pay attention to the road.
  • Slows reaction time if you have to brake or steer suddenly.
  • Affects a driver's ability to make good decisions.
  • Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. 

“You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Our new research shows that a driver who has slept for less than five hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk.” 

Fire Engineering Magazine in a 2013 article for EMS providers said, “Sleep deprivation produces impairments in the central nervous system (CNS) that can result in drowsiness, fatigue, decreased alertness, slowed reaction time, and impaired thinking and judgment; these effects can lead to accidents, errors, injuries, and fatalities. In fact, studies have shown that being awake for 18 hours produces impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 percent and reaches a BAC equivalent of 0.10 percent after 24 hours of wakefulness.” 

What can you do to prevent drowsy driving? 

Understand your condition says that before driving, consider whether you have the following issues: 

  • Sleep-deprived or fatigued (6 hours of sleep or less triples your risk)
  • Suffering from sleep loss (insomnia), poor quality sleep, or a sleep debt
  • Driving long distances without proper rest breaks
  • Driving through the night, mid-afternoon or when you would normally be asleep
  • Taking sedating medications (antidepressants, cold tablets, antihistamines)
  • Working more than 60 hours a week (increases your risk by 40 percent)
  • Working more than one job and your main job involves shift work
  • Drinking even small amounts of alcohol
  • Driving alone or on a long, rural, dark or boring road 

Take preventative actions 

  • Do not drive when you are sleepy. If you get sleepy, pull off the road to park in a safe place and take a nap.
  • Schedule a break every 100 miles.
  • Travel with a passenger. A passenger can play a role in preventing drowsy driving by making sure the driver is alert and relieving the driver periodically. 

“If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a drowsy driver, contact the experienced attorneys at Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. to determine your rights,” said Charlotte County Vehicle Accident Attorney, Randall Spivey.



Charlotte County Vehicle Accident Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys.  He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida.  For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to  Visit for more information.  You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.


Contact Us


Spivey Law Firm Logo Spivey Law Firm 13400 Parker Commons Blvd.
Fort Myers, Florida 33912

(239) 337-7483

Free Consultation