News / 

CDC: 1 in 24 admit nodding off while driving

CDC: 1 in 24 admit nodding off while driving



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

NEW YORK (AP) - This could give you nightmares: 1 in 24 U.S. adults say they recently fell asleep while driving.

And health officials behind the study think the number is probably higher. That's because some people don't realize it when they nod off for a second or two behind the wheel.

"If I'm on the road, I'd be a little worried about the other drivers," said the study's lead author, Anne Wheaton of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the CDC study released Thursday, about 4 percent of U.S. adults said they nodded off or fell asleep at least once while driving in the previous month. Some earlier studies reached a similar conclusion, but the CDC telephone survey of 147,000 adults was far larger. It was conducted in 19 states and the District of Columbia in 2009 and 2010.


If I'm on the road, I'd be a little worried about the other drivers.

–Anne Wheaton


CDC researchers found drowsy driving was more common in men, people ages 25 to 34, those who averaged less than six hours of sleep each night, and _ for some unexplained reason _ Texans.

Wheaton said it's possible the Texas survey sample included larger numbers of sleep-deprived young adults or apnea-suffering overweight people.

Most of the CDC findings are not surprising to those who study this problem.

"A lot of people are getting insufficient sleep," said Dr. Gregory Belenky, director of Washington State University's Sleep and Performance Research Center in Spokane.

Related:

The government estimates that about 3 percent of fatal traffic crashes involve drowsy drivers, but other estimates have put that number as high as 33 percent.

Warning signs of drowsy driving: Feeling very tired, not remembering the last mile or two, or drifting onto rumble strips on the side of the road. That signals a driver should get off the road and rest, Wheaton said.

Even a brief moment nodding off can be extremely dangerous, she noted. At 60 mph, a single second translates to speeding along for 88 feet _ the length of two school buses.

#poll

To prevent drowsy driving, health officials recommend getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, treating any sleep disorders and not drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Related Links

Related Stories

Mike Stobbe

    SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

    Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast