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Drowsy Driving/Fatigue

General Statistics

  • Teen drivers who sleep less than 8 hours nightly are one-third more likely to crash than those who sleep 8 or more hours nightly.1

  • Drowsiness is similar to alcohol in how it compromises driving ability by reducing alertness and attentiveness, delaying reaction times, and hindering decision-making skills.2

  • Daily sleep is reduced by about 40 to 50 minutes from ages 13 to 19. This is caused by gradually later bedtimes but more or less stable awakening times.2
  • Teens need to log a little more than nine hours of sleep per night to achieve the optimal level of daytime alertness needed to eliminate the risk of drowsy driving.2

  • The majority of fatigue-related crashes are caused by drivers under age 25.3
  • Being awake for 18 hours is similar to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08, which is legally drunk.4

  • At least 5 percent of adults (ages 18 to 44) admit to falling asleep at the wheel.5

  • Approximately 1 in 5 fatal crashes include a drowsy driver and 16- to 24-year-old drivers are the most likely to be involved in these crashes.5

  • In 2009, over 30,000 crashes involved drowsy driving.5



  1. Hutchens L, et al. Teen Driver Crash Risk and Associations with Smoking and Drowsy Driving. Accident Analysis and Prevention. May 2008.
  2. National Sleep Foundation. Healthy Sleep Project. 2015.Available at: Accessed April 9, 2015.
  3. Pack AI, Pack AM, Rodgman E, Cucchiara A, Dinges DF, Schwab CW. Characteristics of crashes attributed to the driver having fallen asleep. Accident Analysis & Prevention. 1995; 27(6):769-775.
  4. National Sleep Foundation. Detection and Prevention: Drowsy driving.  Available at: Accessed April 7, 2010.
  5. Drowsy Driving. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. November 2014. Available at: Accessed April 9, 2015.
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