The Dangers of Driving Tired

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: November 16, 2017


The Dangers of Driving Tired: How Dangerous Is It?

While driving home from work, a car drifts into your lane. At first, you think the other driver may be driving drunk, but you realize he’s “driving tired.” But let’s review the research—which basically has found that fatigued driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence.

  1. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

According to NHTSA, driver fatigue accounts for 100,000 crashes annually. These accidents cause 71,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths.

  1. National Sleep Foundation

In 2005, the National Sleep Foundation found that 60 percent of Americans drove at least once when they felt drowsy, and one in three drivers fell asleep behind the wheel. So it’s common, but is it dangerous: Yes. The study also found that 11 million people admitted to experiencing an accident or near accident because they were tired as they drove.

  1. AAA Foundation 2014

More than one in three drivers have fallen asleep at least once while behind the wheel. And once again—the frequency of the sleepy driver doesn’t diminish the risk: In 2014, drowsy drivers drifted out of their lane or off the road and were involved in 21 percent of all fatal crashes.

  1. AAA Foundation 2016

Accident risk increases when drivers sleep less than five hours a day or less than seven of the past 24 hours.

  1. Transport Accident Commission

After being awake for 17 or more hours, driver reaction slows. Tired drivers also demonstrate the same impairment as those who are legally drunk.

  1. Driver Fatigue and Alertness Study

Drowsiness increases when drivers operate a vehicle at night. In fact, time of day makes drivers more tired than if they are on the road for many hours.

  1. National Sleep Foundation 2002 Sleep in America Study

Lack of sleep causes behavioral issues on the road. Drowsy drivers may:

  • Make errors—65 percent
  • Get impatient— 64 percent
  • Disagree with others— 44 percent
  • Struggle to complete tasks without injury— 37 percent

Seven studies show that driving while tired is a serious threat to safety on the road, yet millions of drivers do it.

If you are the victim of an accident that’s associated with drowsy driving, contact a compassionate attorney at Zanes Law for details on how to proceed.


Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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