Snoring and Drowsy Driving
A troubling study was released last week by the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety which found that of 2,000 American drivers polled, one-third admitted to falling asleep or nodding off while they were driving in the past year. The results of the study were much more severe than expected, which was released in conjunction with the organization’s “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week” November 8th-14th, 2010.
While this particular study did not attempt to specify the reasons behind America’s growing drowsiness issue, we know from past research that there is a common link between the snoring disorder, sleep apnea and a higher rate of car and truck crashes. Two years ago, a study published in the medical journal Thorax and conducted by Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and University of British Columbia revealed that sleep apnea patients are at double the risk of being in a car crash, and are three to five times more likely to be in a serious car crash involving personal injury.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than 100,000 accidents each year. Fifty-seven percent of drowsy driving crashes involved the driver drifting into other lanes or even off the road.
Additional findings from the AAA study include these worrisome statistics:
- More than half (55%) of those drivers who reported having fallen asleep while driving in the past year said that it occurred on a high-speed divided highway.
- More than half (59%) had only been driving for less than an hour before they nodded off. Only 20% had been driving for three hours or more.
- 26% reported that it happened between 12 noon and 5pm.
These findings point to the importance of getting snorers the treatment they need to keep themselves and the rest of the public safe. The sleep loss associated with snoring impairs a person’s ability to perform tasks involving memory, learning, reasoning, mathematical processes and severely impacts reaction time in drivers. In addition, since heavy snoring can carry great health risks — especially sleep apnea which causes a person to be startled awake numerous times throughout the night because they stop breathing — it is a responsible choice to seek treatment by a snoring specialist.
To learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of snoring and sleep apnea, visit Eos Sleep’s FAQ section. If you or someone you know suffers from the daytime symptoms of snoring, don’t hesitate to seek treatment. If you are in the New York tri-state area, schedule your evaluation and contact us today.
To read more of AAA’s study and the impact of drowsy driving, visit http://drowsydriving.org.
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