Is Fatigued Driving as Dangerous as Impaired Driving?

It’s common knowledge that impaired driving is dangerous and can quickly turn deadly. Every year, across the country, there are countless public awareness campaigns and law enforcement initiatives aimed at halting impaired driving. As dangerous as impaired driving is, more focus needs to be placed on preventing fatigued driving, which can indeed be just as dangerous as driving while drunk.

Prevalence of Fatigued Driving

The National Safety Council, which has compiled statistics on drowsy driving, notes that about 5,000 people died in fatigued driving-related incidents in 2015 alone. Furthermore, about half of American adults surveyed admit that they habitually drive while drowsy, and about 40% of study respondents admitted that they fell asleep while driving at least once. It’s been estimated that about 328,000 crashes that occur each year involve a fatigued driver. Clearly, fatigued driving is occurring at epidemic proportions in the U.S.

Risks of Fatigued Driving

The National Safety Council further reports that individuals are three times more likely to be involved in a crash when they are fatigued. A person who drives after going 20 hours without sleep is about as impaired as he or she would be with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. Drowsy driving affects individuals in much the same way as intoxication or drug impairment. Reaction time, identification of road or traffic hazards, and concentration are all adversely affected. Additionally, people often underestimate how sleepy they truly are. It’s possible to fall asleep for just a few seconds at a time. This is called micro-sleep. During just one micro-sleep episode, a driver may have gone the length of a football field while asleep. That’s more than enough time to cause an accident that can seriously injure or claim someone’s life.

Guardvant is an industry leader in fatigue risk management. Our driver safety solutions include OpGuard, which monitors driver fatigue in real time, and prevents incidents through audible alarms. Call our headquarters in Tucson, AZ at (520) 299-1911.