Drowsy Driving Kills

posted by Kevin Coleman -

Americans aren't getting enough sleep. A recent study that finds drowsy driving is leading to many more car crashes than previously thought.

Previous government estimates put drowsiness as a factor in one to two percent of accidents, but a new study from AAA finds that number is much higher. After analyzing thousands of dash cam videos, reserchers determined nearly ten percent of crashes can be blamed on drowsy driving.

AAA's William Horrey says getting only four hours of sleep at night can have an effect similar to drunk driving.

A crash victim's sister finds it difficult to look at photos of her Sister Nicole. 10 years ago the college freshman was returning from a ski trip with friends.  Jennifer Pearce says everyone in the car fell asleep, including the driver who drifted and slammed into a tree.  Nicole was rushed to the hospital but didn't survive.

Pearce hopes her sister's story will convince drivers to get the sleep they need before getting behind the wheel.

Government figures show 35 percent of US drivers don't get the recommended minimum of seven hours of sleep every night.

In the most recent Gallup poll, 40 percent of us are clocking less than 6 hours a night. But there is good news - a study out of U-Penn shows the average American is getting 18 more minutes of sleep each night.

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