This Research Brief describes a study that examined the prevalence of driver drowsiness immediately prior to crashes that occurred in the context of a large-scale naturalistic driving study in which the driving of more than 3,500 people was monitored continuously for a period of several months using in-vehicle cameras and other data collection equipment. One such study by Masten et al. This is the National Sleep Foundation's Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has completed a new survey with data indicating that one in … Since it takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to enter the bloodstream, find a safe place to take a 20-30 minute nap while you’re waiting for the caffeine to take effect; Avoid sleepy times of day. Masten, S. V., Stutts, J. C., Martell, C.A. Read more valuable information on teen driver safety. Results were similar in analyses limited to police-reportable crashes, with 10.6% involving drowsiness. Thus, the results of the current study corroborate the general conclusions of previous studies, namely that crashes involving driver drowsiness are much more prevalent than official statistics indicate. Traffic Safety 11/3/2014 More than One-in-Five Fatal Crashes Involve Drowsy Drivers. Washington, D.C.: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The contribution of drowsy driving to motor vehicle crashes is notoriously difficult to quantify. While official statistics from the U.S. government indicate that only approximately 1%–2% of all motor vehicle crashes involve drowsy driving, many studies suggest that the true scope of the problem is likely to be much greater. The National Sleep Foundation is raising awareness of the danger of driving while drowsy, and educating drivers on sleep safety in an effort to reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes and to ultimately save lives. Drivers under age 25 accounted for more than half of all crash-involved drivers in the current study, compared with 23% of all crashes nationwide (NHTSA, 2017). Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board. While the proportion of crashes that occurred in darkness in the current study was similar to the corresponding proportion among all police-reported crashes nationwide Crashes in which the driver’s eyes were not visible for  at least 75% of the coding period (e.g., due to glare, dark sunglasses, or poor video quality) or in which the driver was not in the driver’s seat for the entire coding period were also excluded (n=204). The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s report, Prevalence of Drowsy Driving Crashes: Estimates from a Large-Scale Naturalistic Driving Study, is based on the analysis of in-vehicle video footage of crashes that occurred during the Second Strategic Highway Research Program’s Naturalistic Driving Study (SHRP 2 NDS). Missing one to two hours of sleep doubles a driver’s crash risk, while foregoing two or three hours increases the risk of a crash by 400 percent, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study. SHRP 2 Report S2-S06-RW-1. (2017, October). (Dawson and Reid, 1997; Powell, 2001) The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that one out of every six (16.5%) deadly traffic accidents, and one out of eight (12.5%) crashes requiring hospitalization of car drivers or passengers is due to drowsy driving. Traffic Safety Facts 2015. As part of the AAA Foundation’s survey, 96% of drivers said they see drowsy driving as “completely unacceptable” behavior that threatens their safety. Approximately 31% of crashes examined were classified as severe or moderately severe. In a 2018 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey, nearly all drivers (96%) say they view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and a … Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: A joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Jackson, M. L., Raj, S., Croft, R., J., Hayley, A. C., Downey, L. A., Kennedy, G. A., Howard, M. E. (2016). Drowsy Driving doesn’t get as much attention as things like road rage, driver distraction, & drunk driving. In addition, the SHRP 2 NDS oversampled younger and older drivers. Driving can reveal your true level of sleepiness, especially in the afternoon or at night. It is the sum of all our fears. Guidance for Implementation of the AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan. Learn more about aggressive driving risks and tips to avoid aggressive driving behaviors here. (2006). The SHRP  2 NDS involved few crashes that resulted in severe injuries and no fatal crashes; thus, the results of the current study arguably are most directly comparable to the estimates of Tefft (2012) with respect to all crashes taken together, rather than those for crashes that resulted in severe injuries or fatalities. Drowsiness was assessed using a validated measure that is based on the percentage of time that a person’s eyes are closed. A. By applying a validated measure of drowsiness to a sample of crashes captured on video in a large naturalistic driving study involving members of the general driving population, this study found that 8.8%–9.5% of all crashes and 10.6%–10.8% of crashes severe enough to be reported to the police involved driver drowsiness. However, the proportion of crashes found to involve drowsiness did not vary significantly by age in the current study; thus, the over-representation of young drivers should not itself significantly influence the overall results. Sleepiness slows your reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs your judgment, just like drugs or alcohol. (1994). AAA began providing emergency roadside assistance in 1915, using a fleet of motorcycles to aid stranded motorists. 1 in 3 drivers (2005), for example, likens crashes in which the police report drowsy driving to the tip of an iceberg, where much of the problem remains out of view beneath the surface. The remaining 69% of crashes were of lower severity and generally were not police-reportable. Aggressive driving has increasingly become a major cause of concern for many road users. Of note, however, is the fact that crashes that occurred in darkness were more than three times as likely as those that occurred during daylight to involve drowsiness. (2006) estimated that approximately 15% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. were drowsy. “Drowsy driving is a bigger traffic safety issue than federal estimates show,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The same study found that 109,000 of those drowsy driving crashes resulted in an injury and about 6,400 were fatal. With the belief that the number of drowsy driving crashes has been under-reported and underestimated, the AAA Foundation conducted a 2010 study, Asleep at the Wheel: The Prevalence and Impact of Drowsy Driving, that presented estimates of the prevalence of drowsy driving on the roads and the proportion of crashes each year that involves a drowsy driver. We welcome your feedback and suggestions. Take a mid-afternoon nap and find a place to sleep between midnight and 6 a.m.; and. Previous research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that driving after having slept for less than seven hours in a 24-hour period is associated with measurably elevated crash rates (Tefft, 2016). The sample was generally representative of the driving public with the exception that younger and older drivers were deliberately oversampled. As in previous studies, the driver was classified as drowsy if the driver’s eyes were closed in 12% or more of the video frames in the three-minute or one-minute period preceding the crash (Wierwille et al., 1994; Hanowski et al., 2008). Those who sleep for less than four hours … “This new research further confirms that drowsy driving is a serious traffic safety problem,” warned Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. [2016] provides a detailed description of the classification of crash severity in the SHRP 2 NDS.) Dingus, T. A., Hankey, J. M., Antin, J. F., Lee, S. E., Eichelberger, L., Stulce, K. E., McGraw, D., Perez, M. A.,. Naturalistic Driving Study: Technical Coordination and Quality Control. Naturalistic driving data can provide a unique window into the state of the driver in the moments leading up to a crash. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Driving is an important part of many Americans’ lives. References. Table 3 shows the number and proportion of crashes in which the driver was found to be drowsy based on PERCLOS calculated over only the final one minute prior to the crash, which enabled the inclusion of 112 additional crashes for which three full minutes of video were not available. TRJohnson@national.aaa.com. Washington, D.C.: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Predicting daytime and nighttime drowsy driving crashes based on crash characteristic models. Report DOT HS 808 Getting plenty of sleep (at least six hours) the night before a long trip; Traveling at times when you are normally awake, and staying overnight rather than driving straight through; Scheduling a break every two hours or every 100 miles; Stop driving if you become sleepy; someone who is tired could fall asleep at any time – fatigue impacts reaction time, judgment and vision, causing people who are very sleepy to behave in similar ways to those who are drunk; Not planning to work all day and then drive all night; Drink a caffeinated beverage. Hankey, J. M., Perez, M. A., McClafferty, J. In an effort to reduce this alarming trend in traffic safety, AAA presents Fatigued Driving programs to motorists. 202-942-2079 “Our new research shows that a driver who has slept for less than five hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk.” Drowsy driving is a prevalent and serious public health issue that deserves more attention, education, and policy initiatives so a substantial amount of lives can be saved and disability averted due to drowsy driving accidents. Traffic Injury Prevention, 17(3): 251-257. Fatal Crashes Involving Drivers Recorded as Asleep or Fatigued 2013: Analysis Brief. This study has several limitations that should be noted. Traffic Safety 12/6/2016 Missing 1-2 Hours of Sleep Doubles Crash Risk. DOT HS 811 035. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says six to ten percent of all reported crashes across the U.S. involved drowsy driving. Drowsy Driving 2015 (Crash•Stats Brief Statistical Summary. 762. Collectively, these results provide additional suggestive evidence that the proportion of fatal crashes that involve driver drowsiness is likely substantial. Having trouble keeping your eyes open and focused; Daydreaming or having wandering, disconnected thoughts; Drifting from your lane or off the road, or tailgating; Yawning frequently or rubbing your eyes repeatedly; Missing signs or driving past your intended exit; Being unable to remember how far you have traveled or what you have recently passed. The Traffic Safety Culture Index (TSCI) is a nationally representative survey that has been conducted annually since 2008 to identify American drivers’ perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors related to traffic safety issues. Tefft, B. C. (2016). Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board. Report No. Questions or comments? Drowsy Driving – AAA Exchange “You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. These results suggest that driver drowsiness is a substantially larger problem than official government statistics indicate. The Drowsy Driver Warning System Field Operational Test: Data Collection Methods. Tefft, B. C. (2012). We can all use a reminder of the dangers of drowsy driving. (2008). Washington, D.C.: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Stutts, J., Knipling, R. R., Pfefer, R., Neuman, T. R., Slack,  K. L., Hardy, K. K. (2005). Sleepiness slows your reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs your judgment, just like drugs or alcohol. Results indicated that observable driver drowsiness, assessed on the basis of eyelid closures, was present in an estimated 8.8%–9.5% of all crashes and 10.6%–10.8% of those severe enough to be reportable to the police. The results of this study stand in stark contrast to official statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which report that driver drowsiness was involved in an estimated 1.4% of all police-reported crashes nationwide, 2.0% of crashes that resulted in injuries and 2.4% of crashes that resulted in a death in years 2011–2015 (National Center for Statistics & Analysis, 2017). DOT HS 812 446). A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated that 328,000 drowsy driving crashes occur annually. Table 2 shows the number and proportion of crashes in which the driver was found to be drowsy based on PERCLOS calculated over the three minutes immediately prior to the crash. Although not all of these crashes were necessarily reported to the police, they were severe enough to have likely met the police-reporting thresholds in most jurisdictions (Hankey et al., 2016). They then used those models to estimate the proportion of all crashes that involved drowsiness. Final Report: Evaluation of Techniques for Ocular Measurement as an Index of Fatigue and as the Basis for Alertness Management. Washington, D.C.: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Starting a trip feels exciting, but the alertness wears off, letting boredom and drowsiness take over. Stowe, L. (2015). Senior Researcher, Traffic Research Group, Sign-up to be notified of the latest Foundation research releases and news, 607 14th Street NW  //  Suite 201  //  Washington, DC 20005 // © 2020 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. In addition, other studies such as Tefft (2012) have estimated that drowsiness is a factor in a much greater percentage of fatal crashes than in less severe crashes. Produced by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, this brochure provides tips on how to avoid driving while sleepy. AAA Foundation. Sleepiness and Driving Don’tMix Feeling sleepy is especially dangerous when you are driving. Download ». Acute Sleep Deprivation and Risk of Motor Vehicle Crash Involvement. It also surveyed 228 million drivers this past year and says 4.6 million admit to regularly driving when they're so tired they have a hard time keeping their eyes open. Antin, J., Stulce, K., Eichelberger, L., & Hankey, J. Another study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated that 7% of all reported crashes, 13% of crashes that resulted in severe injuries, and 16.5% of fatal crashes involved a drowsy driver (Tefft, 2012). For the last decade, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has been committed to strengtheningour understanding of our nation’s traffic safety culture through the annual Traffic Safety Culture Index (TSCI), a nationally representative survey. It is possible that these drivers and their behavior differed somewhat from the population at large; the extent to which they may be more or less likely than members of the general population to drive while drowsy is unknown. Moreover, a driver who was drowsy before a crash may appear fully alert afterward and may be reluctant to volunteer to the police that he or she was drowsy. This study examines in-vehicle video captured in a large naturalistic driving study to estimate the proportion of motor vehicle crashes that involve drowsy driving. Driver drowsiness is an under-reported traffic safety problem, largely because its role in crashes is typically difficult to ascertain. Tamra Johnson Results were similar in analyses limited to police-reportable crashes, with 10.8% of these higher-severity crashes involving drowsiness. Unlike impairment by substances such as alcohol, there  is no test analogous to a breathalyzer that the police can administer at the roadside to assess a driver’s level of drowsiness at or shortly after the time of a crash. (2016). According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research: Ninety-six percent of motorists view drowsy driving as very or extremely dangerous, but 24% admitted to driving when they were so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at least once in the previous 30 days before the survey (2019 Traffic Safety Culture Index). Experts have long regarded such statistics, derived from police reports based on post-crash investigations, as vast underestimates of the scope of the problem. Volume 14: A Guide for Reducing Crashes Involving Drowsy and Distracted Drivers. PERCLOS has been shown to be predictive of drowsiness, lapses in attention, and increased variability in lane position (Wierwille et al., 1994; Dinges et al., 1998; Jackson et al., 2016). This is the first study to use the validated PERCLOS measure to quantify the proportion of crashes in which the driver was drowsy using pre-crash video from a large sample of crashes that involved members of the U.S. general driving population. That's more than three times the police-reported number. With fall activities in full swing and the end of daylight saving time, there is a greater risk for drowsiness behind the wheel. Videos. It’s estimated that 300,000 crashes every year involve drowsy driving, which also contributes to up to 6,400 deaths per year, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Wierwille, W. W., Wreggit, S. S., Kirn, C. L. Ellworth, L. A., & Fairbanks, R. J. Ultimately, PERCLOS was coded for the full three minutes preceding each of 589 crashes and for one minute preceding each of an additional 112 crashes (701 total). In 2018, the questionnaire was revamped to include more measures such as perceived danger, risk of arrest, personal and perceived social approval of risky driving, support for laws and policies designed to curtail these be… Description of the SHRP 2 Naturalistic Database and the Crash, Near-Crash, and Baseline Data Sets. Thus, sources of data beyond standard police reports are necessary to develop accurate estimates of the proportion of crashes that involve driver drowsiness. People who are very sleepy behave in similar ways to people who are drunk. “Drowsy driving is a bigger traffic safety issue than federal estimates show,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Drowsy driving is a serious problem in the United States. The impact that this has on traffic safety should not be underestimated. In this more subjective assessment, a small number of additional drivers who did not meet  the objective PERCLOS-based criteria for drowsiness were judged to have been drowsy at the times of crashes. Watson, N. F., Badr, M. S., Belenky, G., et al. Naturalistic Driving Study: Descriptive Comparison of the Study Sample with National Data. Washington, D.C.: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. (2015). (2015) and Antin et al. A high proportion of crashes involved drivers under age 25, a consequence of both their elevated crash rates (Tefft, 2017) and the deliberate oversampling of younger drivers in the SHRP 2 NDS (Antin et al., 2015). (1998). Feeling sleepy is especially dangerous when you are driving. Drivers in this study were volunteers in a federally funded study that involved placing cameras in their vehicles. In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that people who sleep 6-7 hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in a crash than are people who sleep 8 hours a night. Slow eyelid closure as a measure of driver drowsiness and its relationship to performance. Rates of Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries, and Deaths in Relation to Driver Age, United States, 2014-2015 (Research Brief). Overall, the driver was classified as drowsy in 9.5% of all crashes. Read our Privacy Policy. The impact that this has on … According to the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll, 60% of Americans have driven while feeling sleepy and 37% admit to actually having fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. Even so, almost 1 in 3 also admitted that, at some point in the previous month, they themselves had driven while having a hard time keeping their eyes open. A new study from AAA states that drivers who skimp on the seven hours of sleep experts recommend increase their risk of a crash exponentially. 2019 Traffic Safety Culture Index. Finally, it is possible that some drivers who did not meet the current study’s criteria for classification as drowsy (i.e., eyes closed for 12 percent or more of the one- or three-minute coding window) may have nonetheless been drowsy at the times of the crashes. The proportion of crashes that involved drowsiness varied significantly in relation to lighting conditions (P < 0.001; Fisher’s exact test), with drowsiness evident in over three times the proportion of crashes in darkness as in daylight. The final one minute of video preceding the crash was analyzed if three full minutes of usable data were not available. Here are some suggestions for ways to avoid driving drowsy: Stop driving if you become sleepy. DOT HS 812 384). “Unfortunately, drivers often underestimate this risk and overestimate their ability to combat drowsiness behind the wheel.” Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 11(6): 591-592. In the current study, drowsiness was assessed using the PERCLOS measure, which is the percentage of time that a person’s eyes are closed over a defined measurement interval (Wierwille et al., 1994). A total of 905 severe, moderate, and minor crashes that occurred during the SHRP 2 NDS were initially included in the current study; this number did not include 628 other crashes that were classified as “low-risk tire strikes.” (Hankey et al. Washington, D.C.: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Variation by age, sex, and crash severity was not statistically significant (all P > 0.20). Hanowski, R. J., Blanco, M., Nakata, A., et al. The operational definition of “closed” was that the eyelids were more than 80% closed or covering the pupil. More than a quarter of those surveyed admitted they drove despite being so tired that they had difficulty keeping their eyes open in the previous month. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 45(1): 180-186. American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2010. 50th Annual Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine; Chicago, IL; October 2006. Stutts et al. Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board. Sleepiness slows your reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs your judgment, just like drugs or alcohol. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's report, Prevalence of Drowsy Driving Crashes: Estimates from a Large-Scale Naturalistic Driving Study, is based on the analysis of in-vehicle video footage of crashes that occurred during the Second Strategic Highway Research … The AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan than half of all crashes that driver... 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