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Two In Five Drivers Admit Nodding Off Behind Wheel

“Unacceptable,” but drowsy drivers press on.

by on Nov.08, 2010

Drowsy driving results in a significant share of fatal accidents, reports the AAA Foundation.

If you’ve ever started to nod off while driving but continued pressing on you’re not alone, according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.  Two of every five drivers admit they have fallen asleep behind the wheel at one point or another.

And even though 85% of American motorists contend it is “completely unacceptable” to drive when you’re so tired you can’t keep your eyes open, a quarter of those surveyed have driven in such a situation.

Unfortunately, the foundation contends, most drivers don’t realize the effects of fatigue on their driving abilities.

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“When you are behind the wheel of a car, being sleepy is very dangerous. Sleepiness decreases awareness, slows reaction time, and impairs judgment, just like drugs or alcohol, contributing to the possibility of a crash,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger. “We need to change the culture so that not only will drivers recognize the dangers of driving while drowsy but will stop doing it.”


Deadly Distracted Driving Expands as Automakers Market More and More Unsafe Devices

Drivers underestimate the dangers of cell phones and portable electronic devices as usage and accidents grow.

by on Jul.28, 2009

“Death by Cell Phone” is the title of a new billboard advertisement the National Safety Council.

“Death by Cell Phone” is a new outdoor advertising campaign from the National Safety Council.

It’s not surprising that drivers overestimate their skills and underestimate the harmful and fatal effects of distractions caused by a growing number of other activities while they drive. What is surprising is the lack of  regulation from governments and  their safety agencies as study after study shows that the problem  is growing as automakers expand their marketing of electronic devices or systems, such as Bluetooth, that ease their use.

More than 100 million people are now engaging in dangerous distracted driving behavior each day while driving. Particularly dangerous is the widespread use of cell phones. The issue is not the type of phone a driver uses, rather it is the distraction caused by the conversation. That’s the reason the National Safety Council urged a total ban on using them while driving earlier this year after conducting research that confirmed previous studies on just how dangerous they are.

NSC said cell phone use while driving contributes to 6% of crashes, or 636,000 wrecks, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries, and 2,600 deaths each year. NSC estimates the annual financial toll of cell phone-related crashes at $43 billion.

The latest research released today by the AAA Foundation confirms the growing problem of the disconnect between behaviors that drivers know are dangerous and their continued practicing of them. Overall, the majority of American motorists reported to AAA that they feel no safer now than they did five years ago while driving.

A previous AAA Foundation survey found two out of three drivers mistakenly believe using a hands-free cell phone is safer than talking on a hand-held device. In this survey, the use of a hands-free cell phone was the only behavior that more than half of all drivers rated as acceptable, yet numerous other scientific studies have shown it is equally as dangerous as talking on a hand-held phone, both quadruple your risk of being in a crash.

But Not While Driving

But Not While Driving

Motorists know this intuitively, and rated distracted driving as a top threat, with 80% seeing it as a very serious threat to their safety. Even those who admitted to distracted driving acknowledged they were putting themselves in danger. And more than half of those who admitted to reading or sending text messages or e-mails while driving indicated they were much more likely to have an accident.