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CDC study finds one in 24 drivers doze off

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control found that one in 24 adult drivers report dozing off briefly while behind the wheel.

The researchers from the CDC said that they found drowsy driving to be most common among men, drivers aged 25 to 35, people who slept less than six hours each night, and oddly, drivers in Texas. The study authors said that they don't know why Texans had a higher rate of reported drowsy driving, but one surmised that the same in this state could have survey more young people who don't sleep enough or more overweight people who suffer from sleep apnea.

Experts say that drowsy driving is a symptom of people generally not getting enough sleep. This is certainly cause for concern for drivers in Texas and around the country. Conservative estimates say that about three percent of fatal car accidents involved a drowsy driver, but other experts say that the real number could be as high as 33 percent.

Drowsy driving is particularly dangerous precisely because many people don't realize how dangerous it is and get behind the wheel when they believe they can drive but may be too tired. Nodding off even for one second can translate to 88 feet of movement for a car going 60 miles per hour on the highway, which is a long distance and a high speed for a car that is not being controlled.

Texas drivers can and should take precautions when they may be too tired to drive. Drivers who feel very drowsy, who cannot remember the most recent parts of the driver, or who are drifting between lanes or onto rumble strips should get off of the road.

Source: Associated Press, "CDC: 1 in 24 admit nodding off while driving" Mike Stobbe, Jan. 3, 2012

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