Sleep Deprivation and Car Accidents

Sleep Deprivation and Car Accidents

Joseph Krainin, M.D.

drowsy driving

  • It may surprise you to know that getting little to no sleep (under 2 hours) for just one night causes enough impairment as to be unfit to drive a vehicle, according to the National Sleep Foundation. In fact, the NSF's expert panel agreed that even getting 3-5 hours of sleep would be too little for most healthy drivers.
  • Sleep deprivation is more than a nuisance, and it affects more people than just the sleep-deprived individual. Statistics about the crash risk of drowsy driving vary. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that in 2017, 91,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers. These crashes led to an estimated 50,000 people injured and nearly 800 deaths. But there is broad agreement across the traffic safety, sleep science, and public health communities that this is an underestimate of the impact of drowsy driving. The Governors Highway Safety Association found that drowsy drivers are responsible for more than 6,400 deaths and 50,000 debilitating injuries to Americans each year.
  • In 2018, The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the percentage of crashes involving drowsiness is nearly eight times higher than federal estimates indicate.
  • In a AAA Foundation survey, nearly all drivers (96 percent) say they view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and completely unacceptable behavior. However, 29 percent admitted to driving when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at some point in the past month.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that says that 35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended minimum of seven hours daily

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Dr. Joseph Krainin Joseph Krainin, M.D., FAASM is the founder of Singular Sleep, the world's first online sleep center.  He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and board-certified in both sleep  medicine and neurology. He has been practicing medicine for over 10 years.




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