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Drowsy Driving Statistics

Unfortunately, drowsy driving occurs all too often.  The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that 21 percent of fatal motor vehicle crashes involve driver fatigue. One third of crashes involving a drowsy driver also result in injuries.

The AAA Foundation also estimates that drowsy driving is involved in:
  • 6% of all crashes in which a vehicle was towed from the scene
  • 7% of crashes in which a person received treatment for injuries sustained in the crash
  • 13% of crashes in which a person was hospitalized 
Based on these estimates, the AAA Foundation projects that drowsy driving plays a role in an average of 328,000 crashes annually. This total includes 109,000 crashes that result in injuries and 6,400 fatal crashes.

The actual impact of drowsy driving may be even higher than the statistics show.  It is difficult to know how drowsy someone was prior to an accident.  Unlike drunk driving, there is no “breathalyzer” test for drowsiness.  So unless a driver admits falling asleep, drowsy driving often goes unreported. 

But surveys show that drowsy driving is common. The CDC analyzed survey data from 19 states and the District of Columbia. Results show that 4.2% of people reported having fallen asleep while driving at least one time during the previous 30 days.

In 2002 The Gallup Organization surveyed more than 4,000 drivers in the U.S. Survey results show that 37 percent of drivers reported nodding off or falling asleep at least once while driving. Males were almost twice as likely as females to report that they had driven drowsy. Gallup estimated that 7.5 million drivers had nodded off while driving in the past month.