Sadly, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash — often resulting in death — every two minutes in the U.S.. But while drunk driving continues to plague the nation, other issues are growing more concerning. According to a new American Automobile Association (AAA) study, tired driving might be just as dangerous as impaired driving.
After reviewing thousands of crashes that resulted in injuries, AAA found that drivers were 1.3 times more likely to be involved in an accident if they fell one hour short of the recommended seven-hour sleep limit. The report also found drivers 1.9 times more likely to crash if they missed two hours of sleep, and so on.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that roughly one-third of the entire U.S. driving population gets less than seven hours a sleep each night.
“Driving with having only earned four to five hours of sleep in a 24-hour period can be just as impairing as driving legally drunk,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety and advocacy and research.
According to ABC News, Alice Braken is not proud of it, but she knows what it’s like to be on the roads while drowsy.
“I smacked myself in the face very hard to keep myself awake,” said Bracken. “That’s very, very dangerous, so I don’t do it anymore.”
Lititz police Officer Cameron Bruke is very aware of the dangers of drowsy driving and wasn’t surprised by the study’s findings.
“If you are tired, get off the road,” said Burke. “If you need to pull off to the side of the road and take a nap, get a hotel room, stay somewhere for the night.”
Along with the fact that sleep-deprived drivers are nearly twice as likely to crash after missing one hour of sleep, the AAA study found that drivers are wholly 12 times more likely to crash if they got less than four hours of sleep the night before.
AAA’s report recommends that anyone operating a motor vehicle get at least seven hours of sleep each night.