NEW YORK – The numbers don’t lie. That is, until they do lie. Although official statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggest that drowsy drivers only account for 1-3 percent of all motor vehicle accidents, researchers at AAA came up with different results.
A recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study suggests drowsy driving is much more prevalent than the government leads on. AAA researchers found about 17 percent of fatal crashes involved a drowsy driver and the problem is getting worse.
“I don’t think most drivers realize the effect sleep and rest has on the human body. Too many people are getting behind the wheel without getting enough rest in places like New York,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said.
The newest numbers could mean as many as 328,000 crashes are caused by sleepy operators resulting in more than 6,000 deaths. These numbers are up about 5 percent from the foundation’s previous study in 2010.
“The problem is, we can’t accurately tell why these drivers are getting in their cars,” Barnes said.
Study administrations wrote, ‘too many people are inclined to apply their knowledge of drowsy-driving risks to others, but not themselves.’
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety hopes to improve outreach efforts and offer driving strategies for managing drowsy driving and hopefully, change drivers’ behaviors.