A new study done by AAA Texas shows that driving while drowsy is a far more serious problem than originally thought, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended minimum of seven hours daily. In a recent related AAA Foundation survey, nearly all drivers (96 percent) say they view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and a completely unacceptable behavior. However, 29 percent admitted to driving when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at some point in the past month.
Daniel Armbruster of AAA Texas tells News Radio 1200 WOAI that fatal crashes involving drivers who were sleepy jumped last year by 2 1/2 percent across the state.
"There is one thing that should be noted on that is it is very difficult to determine for sure that drowsy driving was the actual cause of the crash," he said.
AAA Texas cited 164 fatal crashes blamed on drowsy driving in the state in 2016, pointing out that the vast majority, 143 of them, occurred in rural areas.
"Even though these numbers reported an increase, this could also be underreported, because it is very difficult to prove that the driver has been drowsy," Armbruster said.
Knowing the warning signs of drowsiness can help drivers avoid dozing off behind the wheel.
The most common symptoms include:
· Having trouble keeping your eyes open
· Drifting from your lane
· Not remembering the last few miles driven
Drivers however should not rely on their bodies to provide warning signs for drowsiness and should instead prioritize getting at least seven hours of sleep before hitting the road.
PHOTO COURTESY: AAA TEXAS