Texas Leads Nation in Drowsy Driving Fatalities
Texas led the country in sleep-related crash fatalities in 2016, according to a recent study about the prevalence of deadly accidents stemming from sleep deprivation. The Lone Star state recorded 159 deaths, accounting for 22.1% of all drowsy driving fatalities nationwide.
Alabama came in second, with 43 fatalities and accounting for 6% of all drowsy driving deaths. The report notes that the high population of Texas may account, at least in part, for its top ranking. However, the same cannot be said for Alabama.
Other states that ranked among the top ten include: California (with 38 fatalities), Ohio (24), Kentucky (23), Arizona (22), Florida (22), Pennsylvania (22), Michigan (21), and Tennessee (19).
The study, conducted by Sleep Junkie and published in February, analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a nationwide census of fatal crashes and their causes.
Other key findings from the report include:
- Roughly two-thirds (66.9%) of fatal crashes involving sleepy drivers were collisions with inanimate objectsrather than other vehicles.
- Approximately 15% of fatal crashes occur when the drowsy driver swerves into oncoming traffic, resulting in a head-on collision with another car.
- Front-to-rear collisions with another vehicle represented 7.5% of fatal crashes resulting from a lack of sleep. This kind of crash likely occurs due to a driver's failure to stop when the car ahead of them brakes, according to the study authors.
- More than 9% of crashes involving sleep-deprived drivers occurred between 5 and 6 a.m., and 8.8% took place during the following hour. The timing suggests that these drivers are either commuting to work or leaving a late-night shift — shift workers are a high-risk group for drowsy driving.
- Sundays and Mondays were statistically the worst days for sleep-related crashes; and June and September were the worst months, accounting for 11% and 10%, respectively, for all drowsy driving fatalities.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 25 drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel in the past month, resulting in up to 6,000 fatal drowsy driving crashes annually.
Read the full report here.