Young drivers who do not sleep enough are at significant risk of having a car crash.
Australian researchers examined the association between sleep and motor vehicle crashes in 20,000 new drivers between 17 – 24 years old.
“Sleeping six hours a night is enough to put young drivers at significant risk of having a car crash.” – Researcher Associate Professor Alexandra Martiniuk
The crash risk is even higher on weekends: young people who got less than six hours of sleep were 55% more likely to be involved in a car accident than those who slept more.
The NHTSA says drowsy driving is a factor in 100,000 crashes each year, causing injuries to 40,000, and killing more than 1,500 Americans annually.
The solution to the problem of drowsy driving may be in the vehicles themselves. Car companies have been studying sleep-deprived drivers, and emerging technology is aimed at waking sleepy drivers. A number of new vehicles from Volvo, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz are designed to identify signs that the driver is falling asleep, and issue a series of warnings.