Young drivers more likely to nod off behind the wheel

November 13, 2012 12:00 AM

A new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that young drivers ages 16 to 24 are more likely to drive drowsy or even fall asleep behind the wheel. About one in seven drivers in that age range have admitted to nodding off while driving at least once in the past year, and many more admit to driving while feeling the effects of drowsiness. Underestimating the risks associated with this behavior can lead to accidents, auto repair and personal injuries.

"Research shows that fatigue impairs safe driving, with many symptoms causing drivers to behave in ways similar to those who are intoxicated," said AAA president and chief executive officer Robert Darbelnet. "In preparation for the holiday driving season and with many young drivers heading home for Thanksgiving break, AAA is drawing attention to this often overlooked crash risk."

These results are similar to a 2010 study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that shows this age group is more than 78 percent more likely to be drowsy when involved in a crash than older drivers, The Car Connection reports. The same study showed that one in six deadly crashes involved falling asleep at the wheel, making drowsy driving a leading cause of car accidents. 

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