4.2 Percent Of Drivers Admit To Sleeping While Driving In The Past Month

Jan 03, 2013 08:14 PM EST | Matt Mercuro

One in 24 Americans admitted to falling asleep while behind the wheel of a car within the past month according to a new study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey was based on results of nearly 150,000 drivers living in 19 states.

Click here to see the full report by the CDC on their website.

"Drivers need to avoid driving while drowsy and learn the warning signs," said study author and CDC epidemiologist Anne Wheaton. She said some of the warning signs include yawning, drifting between lanes and missing exits.

The report showed that one of the most dangerous aspects of driving is simply not getting enough sleep while operating a vehicle. People who stated they have a snoring problem or get less than six hours of sleep a day are more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel than those who don't have a snoring problem or get more than six hours.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that around 2.5 percent of all fatal motor crashes and 2.0 percent of all non-fatal crashes were caused because of "drowsy driving" according to CBS.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety stated that over 16 percent of all fatal crashes occur because of a drowsy driver as well.

"If a driver recognizes the signs, they need to get off road as soon as possible in a safe area until they are able to drive again or change drivers," Wheaton said.

The CDC survey asked drivers 18 or older if they had ever fallen asleep while driving in the last month or so, and how often they fell asleep during the day. Sleeping habits were also some of the questions on the survey as well.

Men are more likely to fall asleep while driving than women according to the survey that found 5.3 percent of men fall asleep behind the wheel, where as 3.2 women do. Younger drivers are also more likely to fall asleep than older, more experienced drivers.

"Drowsy driving is a serious risk to personal health and public safety, and snoring is an important warning sign that should not be ignored," American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) president Dr. Sam Fleishman said to CBS News in a statement. "Loud and frequent snoring is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep illness that often causes excessive daytime sleepiness."

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