How many people die from sleepy driving every year?

There's no reason good enough for anyone to get behind the wheel when they're sleepy, but numerous Americans depend on automobile transportation. Driving their cars while fatigued or sleepy may be the only way these motorists have of getting from A to B. This certainly doesn't make the behavior justified, and it certainly won't exonerate an at-fault driver who causes a fatal crash because he or she fell asleep while driving.

Statistics about sleepy driving

Like any dangerous behavior, one of the most important ways to encourage people to stop engaging in it is to educate them on how common and widespread the behavior is. Sleepy and fatigued vehicle operation is no different, and – tragically – this potentially life-threatening behavior is a lot more common than you might think. Consider the following:

  • Approximately one out of every 25 drivers over the age of 18 says that they have fallen asleep while driving an automobile within the last 30 days. This is not to say that they simply drove while sleepy. This is to say that one out of 25 people literally fell asleep behind the wheel.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) believes that in 2013, sleepy driving caused 800 deaths, 44,000 injuries and 72,000 crashes. However, it's likely that these figures are the result of underreporting because it's very difficult for police to ascertain that a driver who caused a collision was sleepy. Other statistics suspect that as many as 6,000 fatal auto collisions happen as a result of sleepy driving every year.

Have you ever driven while sleep deprived?

Everyone knows that they shouldn't drive drunk, but do you know that you shouldn't drive sleepy? It's against the law to recklessly endanger the lives of others by choosing to drive fatigued. In fact, sleepy drivers can and should be held financially accountable for the accidents, injuries and deaths they cause.

Source: NHTSA, "Drowsy Driving," accessed April 20, 2018

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