Driving and Sleep Deprivation
While you have no doubt heard about the danger of driving in Houston while intoxicated, have you heard how dangerous it is to drive while sleep deprived?
Sleep Deprivation Facts
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 poll, 60 percent of all adult drivers say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy within the past year. That is almost 168 million Americans. Of those individuals, 37 percent have actually fallen asleep at the wheel and four percent have gotten into an accident because they either dozed off or were simply too tired to drive.
In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 reported crashes per year are the direct result of driver fatigue. This leads to 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and almost $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
Sleep Deprivation and the Law
Your Houston ENT agrees; these numbers are staggering. Unfortunately, unlike drunk driving, it is much harder for law enforcement officials to crack down on driving while tired.
There is no test to determine your level of sleepiness. There are even inconsistent state reporting practices and training to identify drowsiness. In addition, while drowsiness may play a role in a crash, it is accompanied by other factors such as alcohol.
Adults aged 18 to 29 are the most likely to drive while drowsy and men are far more likely to do so than women.
How Much Sleep Should You Get?
Drowsiness is the direct result of the amount and quality of sleep you get. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that people who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in a crash than those who sleep eight hours or more.
While there is any number of reasons why someone would have a restless night’s sleep in Houston, the most common reasons are sleep apnea and insomnia. There are a number of other sleep disorders as well. If you are not getting the quality sleep you need to drive to and from work safely, now is the time to do something about it. Contact your Houston ENT today to schedule an appointment.